CCC 75th anniversary to be celebrated Monday
National Park staff has series of events planned
Grand Canyon - On Monday, the National Park Service will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps at Grand Canyon National Park. Park staff has planned a series of events throughout the spring and summer to commemorate the important contribution of these young men to the Grand Canyon.
The centerpiece of the celebration will be a history symposium, titled "Saving Lives; Shaping the Land; Building Parks: the CCC in the Southwest, 1933-1942," featuring both scholars and the young men who served in the CCC. During the symposium, historians and park rangers will lead guided history walks and talks through Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The symposium will be held from May 30-June 1. Registration for the full three days is $50.
All of the indoor sessions will be held at the Shrine of the Ages auditorium, located in Grand Canyon Village, next to park headquarters. The symposium begins with guided hikes and tours on Friday, May 30. On Saturday, May 31, there will be presentations by 15 historians and scholars, as well as a panel of men who served in the CCC. And on Sunday, June 1, the symposium will conclude with guided hikes and walks. Visiting historians will be coming from New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado as well as Arizona. Registration for the symposium can be done on-line at www.nps.gov/grca/historyculture/ccc.htm.
Gov. Janet Napolitano this week declared March 31, as Civilian Conservation Corps Recognition Day. To help recognize this, the National Park Service will offer special programs throughout the day. At 1 and 3:30 p.m. CCC history walks will be conducted and will meet at Kolb Studio on the rim of the Grand Canyon. At 7:30 p.m. the evening program, at the Shrine of the Ages, will be "Saving the Park and Saving the Boys, the CCC at Grand Canyon, 1933-1942." An afternoon program on the CCC will also be presented at Phantom Ranch on Monday.
On March 31, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed legislation creating the CCC. It quickly became the most popular government program of the Great Depression. The first young CCC men arrived at the Grand Canyon on May 29, 1933. During their time at the park, they were responsible for building miles of trails and creating much of the park infrastructure that is still used by visitors today.
During the summer, visitors to the Grand Canyon can partake in a special series of exhibits retracing the CCC's work at Grand Canyon and in the southwest. Commemorating the arrival of these young men, the Grand Canyon Association and the National Park Service will open an exhibit titled "It Saved My Life, the CCC at Grand Canyon, 1933-1942." The free exhibit, which runs from May 31 through October 31, is offered in Kolb Studio.
Exhibit goers will learn about the despair of the Great Depression, the fear of a possible 'lost generation' of young men, and the feeling of hope that the CCC brought to poor unemployed young men and their families.
Historic photographs and artifacts, never before viewed by the public, will be on display. Attendees will learn about the many things the CCC accomplished at Grand Canyon and the positive changes it brought to the CCC men and their families.
National Park Service historian John Paige stated, "The CCC advanced park development by 10-20 years during the program's first two to three years."
Some have called the 1930s the 'golden years' of the National Park Service in large part due to the almost unlimited labor pool provided by the CCC.
Grand Canyon National Park had as many as four 200-man companies working simultaneously. The most significant CCC accomplishments at Grand Canyon include trail building, the South Rim Community Building, the beautiful stone wall in the Village, the trans-canyon telephone line, and trail shelters.
The National Park Service invites the public to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of the CCC by attending these programs and participating the history symposium that honors these hard working individuals.
For more information and questions about the symposium and planned events, please contact Bob Audretsch, Park Naturalist, at (928) 638-7834.
Information about the park and other activities can be found on the park's Web site at www.nps.gov/grca.
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