Resource 1: Topic Summary
On March 30, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Emergency Conservation Work Project, soon known as the Civilian Conservation Corps. With the nation’s economy staggering under the weight of the Great Depression, Roosevelt aimed to put as many unemployed young people to work as possible.
According to the law, enrollees had to be between 18 and 25, unmarried, unemployed and with a family on relief. They would earn $1 per day, or about $30 per month, $25 of which the government sent to their families. CCC workers could keep the remaining $5 for personal expenses; their housing and food were free.
Wyoming had at least 24 CCC camps in which more than 1,000 young men served from 1934-1938. CCC members built roads, sewer and water systems, boat docks and phone lines. Projects in Wyoming’s national forests included thinning trees, transplanting beavers to better habitats, taking wildlife censuses and performing other wildlife-related studies.
In three of the biggest projects, CCC work crews fought coal-mine fires in Campbell County, cleared out 8,000 acres of dead trees around Jackson Lake and, in Guernsey State Park, built picnic shelters, a stone drinking fountain and a Rustic-style museum—all still in use.
Wyoming CCC camp administrators offered enrollees a wide variety of educational opportunities, including vocational courses such as blacksmithing and carpentry, and academic courses such as English composition and trigonometry. Correspondence courses through the University of Wyoming were also available.
Towns in Wyoming welcomed the presence of nearby camps because often, skilled workers such as carpenters were hired to help with various CCC projects. CCC workers also spent money in these towns on their time off.
Roosevelt wanted to make the CCC permanent, but Congress disagreed, on July 1, 1942, approving $8 million to liquidate it.
Resource 2: Article
The article, “Hard Times and Conservation: the CCC in Wyoming,” offers substantial background on the topic for teachers and for students 8th grade and up. The article may be demanding for 6th and 7th graders.
Resource 3: Visual image analysis tool
National Archives photo analysis page
Resource 4: Poster image and photo
“A Young Man’s Opportunity,” a CCC recruitment poster for Illinois
Photo of a CCC work crew in Utah: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CCC_Co._2530_building_road_in_Utah.jpg