Civilian Conservation Corps
With every visit to a national park, images of the young men of the CCC come to life. Fascinating to think that this ambitious infrastructure project left such a valuable legacy (2+ billion trees, 800+ parks).
With current events serving as haunting echoes of the film’s themes — it’s worth another watch.
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. Over the next decade, the CCC put more than 3 million young men to work in the nation’s forests, parks, and farms: planting trees, creating flood barriers, fighting fires, and building 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. This film, by director Robert Stone, 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 national service.