Roosevelt's Tree Army: The Civilian Conservation Corps

Roosevelt's Tree Army: The Civilian Conservation Corps


A group of Civilian Conservation Corps members, 1935. Courtesy of the Emery County Archives via Mountain West Digital Library.

In This Exhibition

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was one of the most popular of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. The CCC’s mission was to conserve the natural resources of the United States while providing relief to the poor and encouraging the recovery of the economy. The program provided employment to enrolllees and financial support to their families during the Great Depression, while developing much needed conservation and infrastructure projects for a country that had been devastated by over logging and farming practices that contributed to soil erosion. Known as "Roosevelt's Tree Army," the program improved national and state parks, prevented erosion, controlled flooding, and assisted with natural disaster recovery.

The unemployment rate during the Great Depression was estimated at twenty-five percent, which left a generation of young men without employment or opportunities. During its operation from 1933 to 1938, the CCC employed close to three million previously unemployed young men, although it disproportionately assisted whites. This exhibition tells the stories of the CCC’s administration and controversial policies, the men who joined, and the contributions its projects made to the history of conservation in the United States.

Credit: This exhibition was created as part of the DPLA's Public Library Partnerships Project by collaborators from Mountain West Digital Library. Exhibition organizer: Anna Neatrour.