Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1-1981

Abstract

The Civilian Conservation Corps was created by Congress to fill the role of providing work opportunities for the nation's unemployed young men. Most Americans considered the CCC as having primarily a relief function with a secondary mission of performing useful conservation work. Essentially experimental, pragmatic and, above all, humanitarian, the Corps was similar in character to the other New Deal relief agencies. It was temporary in status, had no real precedent to follow, and no long-term goals to be reached. The Corps fulfilled its role, as more than two and one half million youths passed through its ranks, and about three billion dollars was spent in its ten years of operation.

In Colorado, the CCC brought very real economic relief and at the same time made a vital contribution to the conservation of the state's natural resources. The agency pumped more than $56,000,000 directly into the state's depressed economy. The Corps significantly increased the income of communities which had CCC camps and financially assisted thousands of Coloradans through its allotment program. More than four thousand local boys participated in the CCC each year, and hundreds of local citizens worked in various capacities in the camps. There were 172 camps in Colorado doing all types of conservation work which was of enduring value to the state. The CCC mended the state's damaged natural resources by improving and maintaining forest and park areas and saving thousands of acres from the ravages of soil erosion. Park and recreational areas were extensively developed by the Corps. Improvements made on the state's reclamation projects were particularly important to agriculture.

The Civilian Conservation Corps in Colorado was highly successful in that it aided in the recovery of the state's economy and put a large segment of its idle youth to work. At the same time, it made significant contributions in the area of resource conservation. The effects of CCC work are difficult to measure and cannot be easily evaluated. Much of the Corps's work was left unfinished or has not been maintained. However, the public has judged the CCC as a success.

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