Very Much Under Construction - More
Report on The Civilian Conservation Corps
The Civilian Conservation Corps, first of the national
recovery organizations set up by President Roosevelt following his
inauguration on March 4, 1933, has now been in operation on a
nation-wide basis for slightly more than two years. Launched on April 5,
1933, as a move to alleviate distress caused by unemployment through the
establishment of a great chain of camps where young men would work on
forest and park conservation projects, the CCC won instant approval from
the public and the press. By July 4, 1933, the conservation corps was
enrolled to its full authorized strength of 300,000 men. Since that time
an average of more than 300,000 young men and war veterans have been
constantly at work on park, forest and soil erosion projects. At the
present time the strength of the corps is being gradually increased to
an enrolled strength of 600,000 men. By this fall, more than 2,900 CCC
camps will be in operation.
At the time the CCC was initiated, the sponsors of this new venture in social relief stated that its major objectives were to give jobs to hundreds of thousands of discouraged and undernourished young men, idle through no fault of their own, to build up these young men physically and spiritually and to start the nation on a sound conservation program which would conserve and expand our timbered resources, increase recreational opportunities and reduce the annual toll taken by forest fire, disease, pests, soil erosion and floods.
On April 5, 1933, the President appointed Robert Fechner as director
of Emergency Conservation Work and arranged for four government
departments - War, Interior, Agriculture and Labor - to co-operate in
the conduct of the program. An advisory council consisting of a
representative of each of the four co-operating departments with Mr.
Fechner as chairman was immediately formed to develop the machinery for
putting the CCC program into effect. It was the task of the
advisory council to convert the half-billion acres of the nation's
timbered domain into a vast work-shop which would furnish employment and
a new chance for a vast army of youngsters thrown out of employment or
denied work by world-wide depression. It was their immediate job to
mobilize promptly a vast army of this unemployed man-power and to get it
to work quickly on projects which would not only enhance the present
value of our national resources but which would increase their
usefulness to future generations.
The selection and enrollment of 250000 unmarried young men between the ages of 18 and 25 years was initiated at once. On April 7, 1933, the first man was selected and enrolled for CCC work. Ten days later on April 17 the first 200-man CCC camp was established at Luray, Virginia. Within three months the 250,000 young men, together with an additional 25000 war veterans and 25,000 experienced woodsmen, had been assembled and placed in 1,468 forest and park camps extending to every section of the Union. On July I, 1933, Emergency Conservation Work was extended to the Indians and 12,000 Indian Emergency Conservation Work workers were soon working under the direction of the Office of Indian Affairs on Indian reservations. An additional 45000 young men and 5,000 war veterans were enrolled from twenty-two drought states in July, 1934.
As men completed the time allotted them in the camps or were discharged for other reasons, their places have been filled periodically. Since July I, 1933, the strength of the CCC has averaged about 300,000. Up to July 1, 1935, the highest strength in the corps on any given date has been 363,000 for the CCC proper and 378,000 for all the forest camps, including Indians and camps located in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Alaska and the Virgin Islands. The present authorized strength is approximately 600,000 not including Indians and men working in the outlying possessions. The total strength will consist fo 545,000 young men, 55,000 war veterans, 14,800 Indians, 2,400 residents of Puerto Rico, 1,212 in Hawaii, 325 men in Alaska and 200 in the Virgin Islands. When mobilization is completed these men will live in 2,916 CCC camps, eighty-five Indian groups and fifteen outlying possession camps.
The cash allowances of all enrolled men in the CCC has been $30 a month. With few exceptions every man has allotted approximately $25 each month to his dependents. Since July 1, 1933, an average of more than 300,000 families have been receiving allotment checks each month allotted by members of the Corps. It is estimated that about 1,000,000 persons have been aided each month through these allotments.
In order to place before the President a detailed account of the
development of the CCC program, as well as to set forth the major
results of the work, each of the co-operating departments recently
prepared a narrative report outlining the part each has taken and is
taking in the conservation corps work. The Labor Department, which has
had the responsibility of selecting men for the CCC, excepting only war
veterans, set forth the methods followed in selecting 860,000 young men
and certifying them to the War Department for enrollment. The Veteran's
Administration, which selected all war veterans, reported that 80,000
veterans had participated in the CCC work. The War Department, which is
responsible for the enrollment, feeding, clothing and care of the men as
well as the construction and operation of the camps, graphically
described how the Corps was mobilized, transported to camps and administered.
Up to July 1, this year, the War Department has enrolled 1,100,000 men,
established more than 2,500 camps and disbursed approximately
$750,000,000 as a part of its CCC activities. The Department of
Agriculture and the Department of the Interior supervised the great
majority of the work projects in the field and their reports tell of the
work that has been done to expand, improve and protect our timbered
Summed up briefly, the CCC program has supplied jobs to more than one million men, most of them youngsters. At one time or another, not less than 4,300,000 dependents of CCC enrollees have benefited through participation in the $30-a-month cash allowance earned by CCC men. Officials of the Forest Service and National Park Service assert that forestry and park development throughout the nation has been advanced from ten to twenty years. The co-operating departments estimate the value of the work done by enrolled men during the first twenty-four months of the two years that the camps have been in operation at $428,000,000. This means that hundreds of millions of dollars have been added to the natural resource wealth of the nation through the completion of a work program of unprecedented proportions. Business recovery has been stimulated through the expenditure of more than $467,000,000 for manufactured goods, food stuffs, automotive equipment, construction material and other articles needed in the operation of the camps. The CCC program has been and is contributing to national health through building up the physical condition of enrollees, through teaching hundreds of thousands of young men new health habits and sanitation methods and through the development of new recreational areas for millions of Americans.
A more detailed picture of the results achieved through the CCC program is shown below under five main headings:
I. RELIEF OF UNEMPLOYMENT, ESPECIALLY AMONG YOUNG MEN.
Approximately 1,250,000 men had been given employment through April I, 1935. Of this number, about 1,100,000 have been young men between the ages of 18 and 25 years, war veterans and locally enrolled experienced men. Approximately 32,000 Indians and 8,000 territorial enrollees have been on the Emergency Conservation Work payroll at on time or another. Approximately 100,000 additional men have been employed for varying lengths of time as reserve officers, as forestry supervisors and other technical personnel on the camp supervisory force, as educational advisors, as carpenters and other skilled and unskilled workmen and as temporary employees engaged on administrative and clerical duties.
It has solved the unemployment problem among foresters 100 per cent. Today approximately 30,000 foresters, technicians and technical foremen have been employed for from six months to more than a year as members of the camp work supervisory staff. Close to 10,000 reserve officers have been called to active duty for varying periods of time to administer the camps. Fifteen hundred school teachers have had positions with the camp educational programs. More than 50,000 skilled and unskilled mechanics have been employed for short periods during the construction of the CCC camps.
2. HEALTH AND ATTITUDE OF ENROLLEES.
The effects of the outdoor life, good food and healthful work on the enrollees are indicated by the fact that 14,000 enrollees selected at random from all sections of the United States showed an average weight gain per man of more than seven pounds during a six month's period of enrollment. Other and later tests of similar nature have shown weight gains varying from an average of eight to twelve pounds per enrollee. War Department officials estimate the weight gains by young men have averaged twelve pounds per enrollee.
The death rate per 1,000 enrollees per year has been 2.7. Among unselected men of a similar age group, according to the American Experience Table of Mortality, deaths average approximately 8.07 per thousand or about three times as many as are experienced in the Civilian Conservation Corps.
It has been possible for many enrollees to remove their families from public relief rolls through their work. The Department of Labor advises that thousands of actual case records
|"reflect the fact that Civilian Conservation Corps
men have returned to their homes definitely benefited physically and
mentally; their outlook toward the future is brighter; their sense of
self-reliance and their ability to adjust themselves to economic
conditions is stronger. It is the consensus of opinion. . . that
the ultimate result of Emergency Conservation Work will prove of lasting
value not only to the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps, but also
to the entire Nation."
3. RELIEF OF DESTITUTE FAMILIES.
Up to April 1, 1935, cash allowances earned by enrolled men in Emergency Conservation Work amounted to approximately $215,000,000. Of this amount, about $205,000,000 was earned by men in barrack camps, of which they allotted home approximately $160,000,000 to need dependents. Since July, 1933, about 300,000 families of enrolled men have received checks each month ranging from $20 to $25 each. More than 3,000,000 people have benefited directly from Civilian Conservation Corps monthly checks.
4. WORK TOTALS.
As of April 1, 1935, the value of the work done under the Emergency Conservation Work program was approximately $428,000,000. This valuation figure was furnished by the several departments supervising work projects and sets forth only a present replacement value of work done without attempting to take into consideration the steady increase in values which will occur on many projects and the large savings which were possible due to such operations as fighting forest fires, controlling insect pests and diseases, and so forth.
The Department of Agriculture say Emergency Conservation Work "has pushed forward conservation progress from ten to twenty years." Running parallel with that statement is one from the Department of Interior which reports "through Emergency Conservation Work, the development of the nation's recreational areas ahs been advanced further than would have been possible in ten to twenty years under the old order that prevailed prior to the initiation of the Civilian Conservation Corps."
More than a hundred types of projects are carried on. These include operations which have to do with forest culture and protection, flood control, irrigation and drainage, landscape and recreation, wild-life and range conservation, soil erosion control and others.
Among the principal work items completed were the following:
Two hundred and ninety-one million trees planted; most of them on denuded areas.
Sixty-seven thousand miles of service roads and trails constructed through timbered areas principally for fire protection. (Of this amount 51,000 miles were truck trails.)
Thirty-three thousand miles of telephone lines built into the nation's forest and park fire detection systems.
Thirty-eight thousand miles of fire breaks opened up through forested areas.
Reduction of fire hazards over 1,143,000 acres.
Two thousand two hundred lookout houses and lookout towers constructed in forests and parks for fire detection.
Forest stand improvement work completed over 1,841,000 acres.
A total of 11,250,000 acres covered in campaigns to control rodent destruction.
A total of 4,824,000 acres covered in campaigns to reduce losses caused by beetles, moths and other insects.
Tree and plant disease control work conducted over 3,929,000 acres. (The white pine blister rust which has threatened to destroy large sections of valuable pine was the principal disease fought.)
One million, one hundred and forty-four thousand check dams built in gullies to control soil erosion.
Flood control work completed included topographic surveys of 127,651,839 square yards, the clearing of 23,000,000 square yards of dam sites and river banks, the movement of 4,710,000 cubic yards of earth fill in dam construction work, the excavation of 280,000 cubic yards of rocks and the movement of 789,000 cubic yards of earth fill.
Completion of timber estimating surveys over 23,000,000 acres.
Construction of 30,500 foot, horse, vehicle and stock bridges.
Improvement of 27,000 acres of public camp grounds for recreational purposes.
Thirty-one thousand miles of roadsides and trailsides cleared up as a fire prevention move and 132,000 acres cleared up for purposes other than fire prevention.
Among other items of work completed were the building of 23,000 buildings and other structures, the construction of 8,494 tool houses and boxes, the development of 3,372 wells or springs, the construction of 2,627 reservoirs for wildlife or stock, the building of 9,500 miles of fences, the expenditure of 592,526 man-days on tree nursery work, the revegetation of 41,804 acres of range lands, the eradication of poisonous and other types of plants from 142,000 acres, the improvement of 116,000 acres of lakes, ponds and beaches, the construction of 3,336 ponds for fish and birds, the construction of 1,159 recreational dams and the construction of seven aircraft landing fields.
In addition to their regular construction work, the CCC devoted hundreds of thousands of man-days to maintenance work. In this connection they maintained 49,000 miles of telephone lines, 19,700 miles of fire breaks and 91,000 miles of truck trails.
The work programs have been largely directed toward the improvement and protection of our natural resources, particularly forests and parks, and the prevention of destructive soil erosion.
"The strengthening of forest and park defenses against the destructive inroads of forest fires, insects and tree attacking diseases represented one of the most important types of work undertaken by the CCC men," according to Director Fechner.
"Fire is the scourge of the forest, causing more forest devastation than any other single cause. Insects and diseases are close seconds in destructiveness. It was natural, therefore, that foresters promptly grasped the opportunity offered by the CCC to strengthen fire protective improvements in forests and parks and to initiate large scale campaigns against insects and such destructive tree diseases as the white pine blister rust.
"The best methods of fire control involve the use of strategically located lookout stations, carefully planned truck trails, telephone lines and mobile forces of fire fighting which can be rushed, fully equipped with tools, to the threatened areas. During the past two years CCC men have been working to improve the detection, communication and transportation systems of fire control by laying new telephone lines, building truck trails to hitherto inaccessible forest areas, erecting fire detection towers, constructing thousands of tool boxes filled with fire fighting tools, opening up fire breaks to facilitate fire fighting and removing inflammable fire hazards.
"Trained in fire fighting by Forest Service officers, the CCC boys have served as an effective suppression force on the ground, and thousands of them have performed heroic work on the fire line in periods of emergency. Last year, one of the worst years of fire hazard in history because of drought and unfavorable weather conditions, the CCC was largely instrumental in holding fire losses on the national forests to a figure well below the average of comparable years. More than 1,841,000 man-days have been spent by CCC enrollees fighting forest fires.
"The CCC work record shows that progress has been registered in the drive to reduce or control the ravages of forest destroying insects and diseases. Campaigns have been conducted against pine beetles, the gypsy moth, European bark beetles, grasshoppers and other forest pests over more than 4,000,000 acres. The availability of CCC labor made it possible for the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture to launch its first major campaign against the white pine blister rust, a fungus disease, that threatens forests valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Most effective work against this menace to white pine growth has been carried on in Idaho, the lake states and in New England. More than 100,000,000 gooseberry and currant bushes, (plant hosts essential to the spread of blister rust), were dug up and destroyed during the last year.
"A large amount of work has been done in the field of forest improvement. Broadly, this includes first, timber stand improvement by removal of dead, defective and worthless trees, thinning overcrowded stands, inventories or timber stand estimates, surveys and forest cover maps and, secondly, reforestation, such as the growing and planting of forest seedlings. General forest cleanup has been completed over several thousand acres while forest stand improvement work has been done over close to two million acres. More than 90,000 experimental forest plots were also laid out for forest research. A decided impetus had been given to planting. Sine the work begun approximately 298,000 acres has been planted to trees. This means that at least 290,000,000 trees have been planted. Much work has been done at forest nurseries to furnish seedlings for later plantings.
"A constantly increasing amount of soil erosion prevention work has been done by CCC men since the work began. Several thousand men have been engaged in flood control projects. Wild life conservation has been emphasized and considerable work has been done in developing water facilities for wild life and stock.
"The improvement of our national and state parks as well as the development of new recreational facilities in other timbered areas has been stressed. The national parks and monuments have been given better protection from fires, diseases and insects. Due to the stimulus of the CCC program, the states have added more than 500,000 acres to their state parks. Thousands of acres of park land have been cleared for public camp grounds. New camp buildings have been erected. Public camp ground water systems have been installed. Simple camp grounds have been developed in national and state forests. These have been equipped with pure drinking water, rustic fire places and rest rooms. This development work has greatly increased the recreational values of our public forests and parks. The Forest Service and National Park Service anticipates that more than 40,000,000 persons will visit the national parks and forests this year.
"Four government departments and the Veteran's Administration have co-operated with the Office of Emergency Conservation Work in handling the CCC program. The men have been selected through the Department of Labor and the Veteran's Administration. The Department of War has enrolled the men, fed and clothed them, constructed the camps and looked after the enrollees at all times except when they were at work in the fields. The work has been supervised by the Department of Agriculture (principally the U. S. Forest Service), the Department of the Interior (principally the National Park Service) and state agencies. The work at a few camps has been supervised by War Department Personnel. The Office of Indian Affairs has operated the camps and supervised all work on Indian Reservations. Soil erosion prevention work is now supervised by the Soil Conservation Service of the Department of Agriculture. The work done at wild life conservation camps is supervised by the Biological Survey.
"No effort has been made to draw a strict line between the various beneficial effects of this work. Primarily it was a relief measure and as such I believe it has accomplished everything that was expected of it. The rehabilitation of those fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to enroll was also a vitally important feature and here, too, the evidence indicates a tremendous benefit has resulted.
"During the past few years many writers and lecturers have called attention to the potential danger of the large and constantly increasing number of young men, most of them still in their teens, who were leaving school and finding it impossible to secure employment of any character. The tremendous number of unemployed married men and older experienced men, whom industry naturally preferred whenever opportunity for employment was presented, was an effective bar to the inexperienced youth just arriving at working age.
"The fact that we were overwhelmed with applications for enrollment as soon as the program was made public offered a vivid illustration of the great desire on the part of unemployed boys to go to work and become attached to some steadying influence that offered hope for a proper living and a chance to get a start in life.
"As was naturally to be expected a great many of these young enrollees, coming from families on public relief, were undernourished and underdeveloped. Within a few weeks there was a noticeable change in their condition. An immediate gain in weight, an improved mental attitude and a return to normal healthy buoyancy that should be the heritage of all youth were the almost universal result. The boys developed an entirely new attitude toward other people and toward life after a few months in camps.
"Many boys entered the camps with an inferiority complex, but very soon they became friendly, self-confident and self-reliant. The regular hours for work, for recreation and for sleep proved highly beneficial in their case. The reasonable discipline that was required was also of great value and, although the Regular Army has been in complete control of the camps, there has been no tinge of militarism connected with the movement.
"Not the least value to the boy has been his opportunity to learn how to live with a large group of other boys where a community of interests was essential to the happiness of all. It is believed that this phase of the camp life will be of lasting benefit to all who have participated in it. The value of learning how to perform constructive work is also an important feature.
"The boys quickly learned the value of regular earning and they take a proper pride in knowing they are contributing to the support of their family. The family, in turn, is happy in knowing that their boy is living a healthful, useful life, learning regular habits and becoming better prepared to take his place in industry when the opportunity offers.
"A great many of the young men have become proficient in work which offers a means of earning their future livelihood. Others have received a start in life that will undoubtedly be of great benefit to them in future years and which they may not have ever received had they not been fortunate enough to spend some months in the camps.
"The enrollees have had an opportunity to learn first hand the necessity and the importance of conservation. From now on there will be hundreds of thousands of young Americans who will be able to understand the need for soil erosion, for flood control, for the eradication of diseases that attack and kill our national forests and for all of the other things that go to make up our national conservation program.
"The boys who have enrolled in the camps have learned habits that will be beneficial to them through the remainder of their lives. Thousands of boys have learned for the first time the value of regular habits, of personal cleanliness and the pleasures that it gives to live right. These are intangible values and cannot be estimated in dollars and cents, but all who have even a slight knowledge of what life in the camps has meant are convinced of its value. At the end of the first six months in the camp the young man is alert, self-confident, hopeful, happy, with a confident swing in his body, ready and willing to face the world with renewed courage and energy, to take his place in our industrial or business life when the opportunity offers.
"A tremendous number of letters have been received both in my office and by the co-operating federal departments from families of enrollees, as well as from welfare organizations, in which strong approval has been given to this entire program and for which the beneficiaries have expressed their gratitude to the President for initiating it. No one could possibly read this collection of human interest letters without being deeply impressed with the great benefits that have accrued to practically all of the boys who have fairly met their obligations after being authorized to enroll."
DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
Maj. M.R.Baer, District
Maj. J.D. Treece, Investigating Officer
Lieut. C.W. Rippetoe, District Veterinarian
On May 27, 1935, 1st Lieut. J. A. Smith and 2nd Lieut. J.W. Owens, Jr., at that time attached to Companies 748 (Cass) and 1705 (Dierks), respectively, were transferred to Company 3789, which at that time was merely a number.
On June 1st, Lieutenant Smith was ordered to Solgohachia to superintend the building of the camp. On the same date came the actual building of Company 3789, when orders were issued organizing 23 new companies in Arkansas. Among these new companies twelve men (Brown, Jackson, Duck, Brint, Ritchey, Satterfield, Hopkins, McKinney, Chambers, Harrel, Furstenburg and Prince) were transferred form Company 748 to Company 3789 and Camp Solgohachia was a reality even though the newly organized company did not actually more to the new camp until June 28th.
Busy days followed. Men were received from Conway, Van Buren, Union, Columbia, Sevier and Sebastion counties to swell the company strength to two hundred.
Lieutenant Owens reported with the detachment of selectees from El Dorado. Mr. Brad Scott was appointed Project Superintendent by the Soils Service and arrived in time to watch his prospective workers enrolled. Dr. Simon L. Moscovich had already reported on July 1st. (Tally Ho.) On July 1st Lieutenant Owens was relieved of duty to accept a position with the Forestry Service. First Lieut. Aubrey O. Pittenger was transferred to command of Company 3789 on July 24th. On August 1st 16 L.E.M. were enrolled and the new company had reached its full strength.
Meanwhile many changes were being made on the camp site. Persimmon sprouts were removed from among the barracks. The road to camp was improved so any one looking for Camp Solgo. could find a place to turn off of the highway without driving on to Birdtown or farther. A 70-foot flag pole went up. Rocks, sod, and rich alluvial soil were hauled into camp from all over the neighborhood. A load of crystal from the Ouachita Mountains went into a fish pond at the end of the company street while old boiler flues and oil well pipe, cleaned and painted, went on a fine set of athletic courts and great slabs of flat rock, quarried from the surrounding hills, went into the building of a complete set of walks around the camp.
Second Lieut. Loyal S. Fairall, who had previously been on duty in the Minnesota area, reported for duty at Camp Solgohachia on August 7th. Dr. Moscovich was transferred to Devils Den August 17th, and Dr. S. H. Cheney arrived in his place August 25th. First Lieut. J. A. Smith was called home because of the illness of his father and on September 15th was relieved from active duty. Mr. William Willoughby and three or four truck loads of equipment arrived October 27th to take over the educational program in camp, thus completing our official family.
On October 15th the Soil Service received their tools and actual project work began. Our falling company strength was again boosted, this time to 212, when 21 men were transferred to this company from Company 1706 (Halsey). They were welcomed into our ranks by a three-week quarantine.