American Experience: The Civilian Conservation Corps
Airs Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV
Originally published May 26, 2010 at 2:51 p.m., updated April 16, 2012 at noon
In March 1933, within weeks of his inauguration, President Franklin Roosevelt sent legislation to Congress aimed at providing relief for the one out of every four American workers who were unemployed. He proposed a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to provide jobs in natural resource conservation.
Living in camps across all 48 states (and the territories of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) the men of 'the C’s’ created camping areas and hiking trails in State and National Parks, built roads, fought forest fires, constructed dams, and planted 2.3 billion trees — half of the trees ever planted in the U.S. — all for $1 a day. Explore these photos of some CCC boys and their projects.
View a map of CCC projects across the U.S. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE mapped several locations in every state — see if you can find something near you!
Over the next decade, the CCC put more than three million young men to work in the nation’s forests and parks, planting trees, building flood barriers, fighting fires and maintaining roads and trails.
Corps workers lived in camps under quasi-military discipline and received a wage of $30 per month, $25 of which they were required to send home to their families.
"The Civilian Conservation Corps" interweaves rich archival imagery with the personal accounts of CCC veterans to tell the story of one of the boldest and most popular New Deal experiments, positioning it as a pivotal moment in the emergence of modern environmentalism and federal unemployment relief.