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Forest Service To Commemorate Conversion Corps

Program planned for May 17

Seventy-five years ago, with the nation in the grips of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), ultimately providing employment for four million Americans.

Camps for enrollees were established on public lands throughout the Pacific Northwest, and companies of "tree troopers" set to work on a wide range of conservation, recreation and engineering projects.

The program ended in 1942 following U.S. entry in World War II.

To recognize the local accomplishments of the CCC, Gifford Pinchot National Forest will host a special event at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 17, at the Wind River Work Center, north of Carson.

The event will include a presentation on the history of the CCC by Rick McClure, forest archaeologist, and a personal account of the CCC by former enrollee Dr. Harry Sutherland, Vancouver.

A screening of rare 1933 motion picture footage of the CCC at work in Skamania County will follow, and the program will conclude with a walking tour of CCC-built facilities and CCC camp site at the former ranger station and tree nursery.

The program will begin at the historic Hodgson-Lindberg Training Center, a former ranger training school built by the CCC located off Hemlock Road, approximately 10 miles north of Carson. Signs for the event will be posted at the work center.

A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt signed a proclamation creating the Columbia National Forest. July 1, 2008, will mark the anniversary of the executive order that established the national forest. In 1949 the Columbia National Forest was renamed to honor Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service.

A variety of commemorative activities and events, including the CCC event on May, are planned throughout 2008 to celebrate the centennial.

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