Pittsfield- Today, State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) joined 29 of his colleagues in co-sponsoring a Joint Resolution recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), honoring a depression-era initiative that put 100,000 Bay-Staters to work planting trees, upgrading existing state parks, building new recreational parks and trails and fighting forest fires.
“Today we are reminded of these men who served the CCC at a time when jobs and resources were scarce,” said Downing. “President Franklin D. Roosevelt exercised great vision to create a program that allowed people to earn a paycheck while building our treasured forest and parks systems across the nation. I am proud to join my colleagues in honoring the CCC’s 75th anniversary.”
From March 31, 1933 – January 1, 1942, during the Great Depression, young men across America worked to improve forest and recreational resources as a part of the CCC federal employment program. Those serving the CCC throughout the country are credited with renewing the nation’s forests by planting an estimated three billion trees. The CCC was one of the many relief programs created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide Americans with jobs and to boost the morale of the country. These workers planted forests, fought fires, built roads, campgrounds, picnic and swimming areas and constructed shelters, pavilions, lodges, bridges and dams.
In Massachusetts, the nearly 100,000 men who served the CCC during the nine year program were among the first stewards of our state forests and park systems. The main focus in the Commonwealth was on tree planting, plant disease and insect control, fire fighting and the building of several park facilities. On average, 28 camps operated each year with a total financial obligation in the state of more than $45 million. In 1942, as more men enlisted into military service for World War II, the CCC ceased its conservation work.
Many state forests in Downing’s Senate District benefited from CCC activity, including Pittsfield State Forest, Beartown State Forest, Mount Greylock State Forest, Mohawk Trail Forest and Savoy Mountain State Forest.