The New CCC

March 31, 1933 was a lucky day for many parks – including the Grand Canyon. (Photo: M.Kopp)

Seventy-eight years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Emergency Conservation Work Act and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established.

The CCC was a public work relief program designed to put unemployed, single men between the ages of 18-25 back to work. Over the next nine years, countless conservation projects were completed.  State parks, national parks and national forests saw miles of new trails and stone structures built. Remnants of this still exist today in many parks today.

Today’s 21CSC

As part of the  “Great Outdoors Initiative”, President Obama talked of a new CCC.  The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) is building on the history of the CCC, offering today’s youth the opportunity to work for eight to ten weeks helping restore public lands. It goes beyond the narrow focus of the 1930s-era CCC to offer outdoor work experience to encourage the participation of both sexes from diverse backgrounds.

At 14, I was lucky enough to work on a youth crew in a park for a summer. Those few weeks became a lifetime love of the outdoors. Hopefully wild spaces and places will benefit from this new wave of young people becoming grounded by a unique outdoor experience.

Is there a particular event or experience turned you into someone who loves the outdoors?

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