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NPS Expansion: 1930s







New Deal



NPS 1933-39




Appendix 5

Expansion of the National Park Service in the 1930s:
Administrative History

Appendix 5
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National Park Service and CCC


The Civilian Conservation Corps advanced park development by many years. It made possible the development of many protective facilities on the areas that comprise the National Park System, and also provided, for the first time, a Federal aid program for State park systems through which the National Park Service gave technical assistance and administrative guidance for immediate park developments and long-range planning. Of approximately 3,114 CCC camp years of work under the supervision of the National Park Service, 880 or 28 percent were on National Park Service areas, and 2,234 or 72 percent, on non-Federal park and recreational areas. It is believed that the work accomplished in the park conservation field in the 10 years of CCC was equal to what might have been expected in 50 years without its assistance.

The National Park System benefited immeasurably by the Civilian Conservation Corps, principally through the building of many greatly needed fire trails and other forest fire-prevention facilities such as lookout towers and ranger cabins. During the life of the CCC the areas received the best fire protection in the history of the Service. Over 414,000 man-days were spent on the work of fire prevention and over 250,000 on fire suppression. The value of the man-days spent in fire protection and suppression in the great scenic areas of the Nation cannot be overestimated.

The CCC also provided the manpower and materials to construct many administrative and public-use facilities such as utility buildings, sanitation and water systems, housing for its employees, service roads, campground improvements, and museums and exhibits; to do reforestation and work relating to insect and disease control; to improve the roadsides; to restore historic sites and buildings; to perform erosion control, and sand fixation research and work; to make various travel and use studies; and to do many other developmental and administrative tasks that are so important to the proper protection and use of the National Park System.

The CCC made available to the superintendents of the national parks, for the first time, a certain amount of manpower that allowed them to do many important jobs when and as they arose. Many of these jobs made the difference between a well-managed park and one "just getting along." If the CCC or a similar organization is established in the future, a more flexible use of the men assigned to National Park System areas would increase its value to them.

The State park program received a tremendous impetus through the CCC. Without having had any previous official relationship with State park organizations, the National Park Service was asked to supervise CCC work on non-Federal park areas. This required the setting up of a supplementary organization on a regional basis. Many States were not prepared to utilize effectively the manpower and materials that were suddenly available to them--in fact, the majority of them had practically no State park system or organization.

The CCC was not just a pick-and-shovel project. It contributed tremendously to the Nation's thought on parks and recreation. It was soon realized that one of the first requirements for adequate programs, both immediate and long-range, was a comprehensive survey and study of the entire park and recreational problem on a Nation-wide basis. In 1936, Congress enacted the Park, Parkway and Recreation Study Act (49 Stat. 1894), and pursuant to this act, 40 of the States and the Territory of Hawaii participated in the conduct of State-wide studies. Thirty-seven of the States completed reports on their studies and 21 published them. In 1941, the National Park Service published its report, "A Study of the Park and Recreation Problem of the United States." Between 1936 and 1942, the National Park Service responded to the request of 18 States in helping to rewrite their general conservation laws, which placed parks and recreation in a stronger position. During the 10 years of CCC, the National Park Service issued the following publications relating to park work--all made possible by the CCC:

A Study of the Park and Recreation Problem of the United States.
Park Structures and Facilities.
Park and Recreation Structures.
Park Use Studies and Demonstrations.
Fees and Charges for Public Recreation.
Yearbook--Park and Recreation Progress, 1937, 1938, 1940, 1941.
Tree Preservation Bulletin, Series 1-9, incl.
Digest of Laws Relating to State Parks.
Digest of Laws Affecting Organized Camping.
Digest of Laws Relating to Local Parks and Recreation.
Municipal and County Parks in the United States--1935.

The above-mentioned work was fundamental and essential to insure proper physical improvements on the State park and recreational areas throughout the country.

Civilian Conservation Corps Program of the United States Department of the Interior . . . January 1944, pp. 27-28.


Last Modified: Tues, Mar 14 2000 07:08:48 am PDT

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