Going to Work on Fire Lane, photo by Trykemom
On March 9, 1933, five days after his inauguration, President Franklin D. Roosevelt outlined his plan that combined both relief for the unemployed and conservation of the nation’s natural resources. It was called the Civilian Conservation Corps.
The Civilian Conservation Corps, better known as the CCC, recruited unemployed young men to work on federal- and state-owned lands for “the prevention of forest fires, floods and soil erosion.” According to Roosevelt, the CCC would “conserve our precious natural resources” while placing “a vast army of the unemployed” into “healthful surroundings.”
The CCC arrived in Michigan in May 1933 when a camp opened in the Hiawatha National Forest west of Sault Ste. Marie. During the next nine years, over 100,000 Michigan males joined the CCC.
Operating out of camps located all over the state, Michigan enrollees planted 484 million trees (more than twice as many as in any other state), spent 140,000 days fighting forest fires, planted 156 million fish and constructed 7,000 miles of truck trails, 504 bridges and 222 buildings.
Required to send home most of their monthly wage of $30, Michigan enrollees provided their families with more than $20 million. The CCC also taught thousands of American boys how to take orders, the rudiments of sanitation, first aid and personal cleanliness, and other skills that were directly transferable as they joined the armed forces to fight World War II.
The photo above is part of 3 Cs Camp, a great set of photos taken by a man who served in the Civilian Conservation Corps camp in 1933-1934, mainly in Cadillac, Michigan.
For more great stories on Michigan‚Äôs past, look to Michigan History magazine. For more information or a free trial issue, call (800) 366-3703 or visit www.michiganhistorymagazine.com.