Remembering the CCC

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"Panorama crossroads from the Appalachian Trail, Shenandoah National Park, Va." ca. 1940. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

The young men of the CCC planted 2.3 billion trees, representing half the reforestation done in the United States. There were 4,500 camps that provided work relief to over three million men. They completed the Appalachian Trail and created many national parks in the eastern United States. Existing national parks were improved with new roads and structures for visitors. The CCC brought alpine skiing to the United States when they cut the first trails on Mount Mansfield, in what would become Stowe Mountain Resort. The CCC also built Red Rocks in Colorado for performances.

The success of the CCC has inspired other youth work programs centered on conservation, ranging from national non-profits to state-based programs. The National Park System and state park systems would not have been able to expand without the dedicated work of the CCC. Many CCC enrollees held reunions to commemorate their time in the CCC. Visitors to national and state parks today are still able to see many of the structures and improvements that the CCC men built through their efforts.