Greetings folks. As I write this column on Good Friday and April will arrive on Monday, I have yet to see my snow droops, pussy willows nor even a blade of grass just outside my door.
However, I did see the latter last Thursday in Westfield, though there was still about four or five inches of snow just outside my door. It has been a little warmer the past few days, so perhaps by the time you read this column we will see a few spring signs. Meanwhile, I want to tell you about one of the most interesting historical sites we have seen in Florida, the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum located in Hamok Park in Sebring, Fla.
The CCC was originally begun by the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the New Deal. It's nicknames were "Roosevelt's Tree Army," "Tree Troopers" and "Soil Soldiers." He submitted it to Congress because of his intense commitment to preserving natural resources. When approved, it was the first recovery and relief bill passed by Congress during the great depression. It began in March 1933 for jobless single men ages 19 to 25 and it started enrolling in the program. It's purpose was to remedy the healthy outdoor work. Roosevelt even used its appeal to persuade desperate World War I veterans to cease their protest demand for early payment of service bonuses and instead accept enrolment in the CCC as a way to ease their economic needs.
During the CCC'S nine-year existence, it was estimated there were nearly 3 million single men enrolled to work at erosion control, fire prevention, land reclamation and pest eradication. Concentrating on forest management, it accounted for more than half of the tree planting in the United States through the 20th century. For their service, the enrollees received $30 monthly and had to send $25 of it to their families at home.
The CCC organization was shared widely by various government departments including the Department of Labor, which selected the men enrolled. The Department of War administered the work camps with the Army, and the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior and officers devised and supervised the work.
During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide, upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas and other tasks.
The American public made the CCC the most popular of all the New Deal programs. It also led to a greater public awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resource and the continued need for carefully planned, comprehensible national programs. Although it was discontinued June 30, 1942, it appears it made a lasting impression on our government and the citizens of it. One wonders if a similar program wouldn't help in the current economic conditions in our country.
Part of the above information was obtained, with thanks, from the encyclopedia and the Wikimeda Foundation.