WPA Today   


Emblem worn by Maryland CCC

The Civilian Conservation Corps in Maryland--Page 1
(See Photos Below!)

      The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC, 1933-1942) was similar to the WPA, in that it focused on getting the unemployed back to work.  It was different than the WPA, however, in that it focused primarily on putting young men to work in America's woodlands, e.g., fighting forest fires, planting trees, developing state parks.  So, it was very narrow in its focus, whereas the WPA was more wide-ranging.  But the narrow focus of the CCC was a political strength.  Even many conservative-minded people liked the CCC.  It's semi-military approach, it's targeting of idle youth, and it's labor-heavy work was more acceptable to many Americans than, say, unemployed actors working in the Federal Theater Project (even though, as many pointed out, unemployed actors had to eat too).  Still, the "CCC Boys," as they were called, were not immune to insult.  There were those who felt the CCC Boys were dirty, degenerate youth, and they didn't want CCC camps located near them.  This is a shame, considering that (a) the CCC Boys planted trees in areas all across America that had been denuded, (b) developed state parks that generations of Americans have enjoyed, and (c) often risked and sacrificed their lives in World War II when their country called on their services yet again.  But unfortunately, like today, having the status of "unemployed" opened the CCC Boys up to all manner of insults.

     According to the non-profit group CCC Legacy, the CCC planted about 3 billion trees across America, fought forest fires, constructed roadways & buildings, engaged in soil conservation, built/developed about 800 state parks, built and operated fish hatcheries, reintroduced wildlife, and economically invigorated surrounding communities (http://www.ccclegacy.org/ccc_legacy.htm).      

     According to the book "Roosevelt's Tree Army: A History of the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942," by the late forester Perry H. Merrill, the CCC, in Maryland, planted 4,378,000 trees, and built 274 bridges (many of these were small foot bridges) & 3,431 check dams (small dams that help prevent erosion).  According to other sources (e.g., the Maryland Department of Natural Resources), the CCC developed Swallow Falls State Park, Herrington Manor State Park, Savage River State Forest, Green Ridge State Forest, Gambrill State Park, Cunningham Falls State Park, Catoctin Mountain Park (including Camp David), Patapsco Valley State Park, Patuxent Research Refuge, Elk Neck State Park, Pocomoke River State Park, and more.

     Recently, an article in the Cumberland Times-News highlighted how the work of the CCC has been an ongoing economic boost to western Maryland ("Recession In Rear View, Visitors Spending More At, Around State Parks").  And see here for a 2010 economic impact study of Maryland state parks.  Considering the unemployment problems of America's younger veterans, as well as youth generally, why has a modern, national CCC not been created?  (See Colorado's new CCC-type program here and here)

Photo credits: Unless otherwise noted, all black and white photos were taken by the WPA, are in the public domain, and provided courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.  All color photos--unless otherwise noted--were taken by Brent McKee.  Click here for more information on photo credits, permission to use, and exhibit descriptions.

 You can scroll through all the photos below, or jump to the ones you want to see:

Gambrill State Park
, Frederick State Park
Pocomoke River State Park
, Worcester County

 Gambrill State Park
Frederick County
Offering: Camping, fishing, picnicking, Tea Room rental, and trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Website: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/gambrill.asp

Above: Of all the state parks in Maryland, Gambrill State Park seems to display its CCC heritage the most.  For example, this statue of a CCC worker.  (Photographed 2011)

Above: A CCC information plaque at Gambrill State Park.  (Photographed 2011)

Above: A CCC-built overlook at Gambrill State Park.  (Photographed 2011)

Above: A view of the Frederick area, from the overlook (see previous picture).  This camera shot doesn't even begin to capture the incredible view here.  (Photographed 2011)

Above: The CCC-built Tea House at Gambrill State Park.  According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Tea House is "a popular location for weddings, family reunions, business meetings, and other special events" (see http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/gambrill.asp).  (Photographed 2011)

Above: Another view of the Tea House.  (Photographed 2011)

Above: The Tea House offers a great view of the countryside.  (Photographed 2011)

Above: A picnic shelter at Gambrill State Park.  (Photographed 2011)

back to top menu

 Pocomoke River State Park 
Worcester County
Offering: Boating, fishing, camping, picnicking, hiking trails, & a public pool (and Pocomoke State Forest offers hunting opportunities)
Website: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/eastern/pocomokeriver.asp

Above: Entrance sign to the Milburn Landing area of Pocomoke River State Park.  (Photographed 2011)

Above: According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Pocomoke River State Park was one of the primary beneficiaries of CCC state park development (see History of Maryland State Parks).  (Photographed 2011)

Above: A view of the Pocomoke River from the Milburn Landing side of the park. (Photographed 2011)

back to top menu

Go to CCC 2

Website Builder