Milepost #929

June 27, 2019

By Ken Brafman, Image from ROWHS Archives

TITLE: A NEW DEAL FOR OUR FORESTS: This week’s image is a real photo with a view of the Civilian Conservation Corps tent camp in Miller Canyon, about five miles north of Crestline. The men were assigned bunks while the long building housed the mess hall, forestry quarters, drying room, medical facility and recreation hall. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office in 1933 one of his first orders of business was to establish the CCC. The new president stated his vision of creating an agency which would perform complex work devoted to forestry, the prevention of soil erosion, flood control, firefighting, building of parks and similar projects.  From its inception in 1933 until 1942, some 2 million young men flocked to join and were put to work on the nation’s infrastructure. Pay was $30 per month, of which $25 was mandated to be sent home to assist the families. Benefits included increased employability as well as gaining a sense of dignity. They were doing important work for their country and they knew it. Nationwide crime statistics saw a 55% reduction for the same age group. Our nation’s forests saw 97,000 miles of fire roads and 3,500 fire towers built. Over 3 billion trees were planted. At least 4 million man days were expended on firefighting. Millions of acres of wildlife habitat were protected and many thousands of fully-equipped campgrounds were developed. By 1935 there were 500,000 men living in 2,600 camps in all states. California had over 150 camps. The CCC program was very popular among the general population. One result was in fostering an appreciation of the outdoors and of the nation’s natural resources. The San Bernardino Mountains was the home to some half dozen camps; from Miller Canyon, Lake Arrowhead and City Creek out to Fawnskin. While it was acknowledged that there was still much work to be done, the events at Pearl Harbor caused a shift in priorities and the camps permanently closed by 1942.

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