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By Daniel Lewis, ProQuest Senior Product Manager
The 2015 edition of the Statistical Abstract of the U.S. includes a chart of statistics issued by the National Park Service regarding the number of visitors to U.S. National Parks in 2014. According to the chart, National Parks saw over 68 million people enter in 2014. When adding in locations like National historic sites, National recreation areas, National parkways, and National seashores, the number of visitors jumps to over 292 million. (From National Park Service. "National Park Service (NPS) Visits And Acreage By Type Of Area: 2014." ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the U.S. 2015 Online Edition. Ed. ProQuest, 2015.)
These tens of millions of visitors to National Parks in 2014 might have paid tribute to the contribution to U.S. National Parks by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. A collection of CCC press releases from the 1933 to 1941 is now available in the newest module on ProQuest History Vault – New Deal and World War II: President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Office Files and Records of Federal Agencies. According to the CCC press releases in this New Deal module, the CCC worked at the following National Parks: Acadia, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains, Mammoth Cave, Mesa Verde, Mt. Rainier, Sequoia, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. In addition, the CCC worked in many National Forests including Coronado, Gila, Olympic, and Tonto. CCC contributions to National Military Parks that are mentioned in the collection include Chickamauga-Chattanooga, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Petersburg, Shiloh, Spotsylvania, and Vicksburg.
A July 3, 1935 press release summarizing work done by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in its first two years gives some idea of the amazing accomplishments of this important New Deal program:
As this press release indicates, the workers of the CCC engaged in a variety of activities to protect and preserve the natural resources of the United States. The CCC was created during the first 100 days of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal to provide employment to men between the ages of 17 and 28. At its largest, the CCC employed over 500,000 people.
The press releases sometimes include dramatic stories, such as the rescue of four snowbound civilians outside Boulder City, Nevada. According to the January 25, 1937 press release, a party of five people was trapped by a blizzard at the isolated Yucca Pass of Nevada on December 27, 1936. After three days of waiting for help to arrive, one member of the stranded party, Fred Miller, went off for help. Two days later Miller had still not returned, so James Ross Poe set out in hopes of reaching the ranch of Bull Smith some 17 miles away. Along the way, Poe found Miller frozen to death in a drift. Poe eventually reached the Smith ranch and Smith was able to get others members of the party back to his ranch. The Smith ranch, however, was low on supplies of food and heat. CCC workers in Company 573 reached the Smith ranch on a Caterpillar tractor. The CCC brought the survivors to Las Vegas for treatment.
The CCC records in History Vault, digitized by ProQuest from the holdings of the National Archives, are just one of ten collections in the History Vault module entitled New Deal and World War II: President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Office Files and Records of Federal Agencies. A major portion of this module is President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Office Files. Roosevelt's Office Files highlight the major concerns of the President and his administration.
Librarians: Learn more about the CCC and the New Deal and World War II module of History Vault here and sign up for free trials of ProQuest History Vault and other ProQuest resources, including ProQuest Executive Orders and Presidential Proclamations, Historical Newspapers, and ebooks.
Image caption: Poston, Arizona. Civilian Conservation Corps telephone crew building telephone lines from Parker, Arizona. Source: National Archives, RG 210: Records of the War Relocation Authority, 1942-1945.