The Grand Canyon National Park was just one beneficiary of the Civilian Conservation Corps program, a brilliant piece of legislation that brought work for the unemployed and revived the country’s natural resources. The Corps was a saving grace for young men beaten down by the Great Depression and its 25 percent unemployment rate. From 1933 to 1942, nearly three million men performed conservation work in national parks, state parks, national forests and other publicly held lands. The Corps’ work in the Grand Canyon is the focus of this new book on a topic close to the author’s heart: Audretsch spent almost 20 years as a ranger at the park.
Shaping the Park and Saving the Boys showcases improvements in the Grand Canyon’s infrastructure. Trails, roads, telephone lines, fences and trail rest houses benefited visitors in the park shortly after their construction, and many still exist today. From the first corps camp at the South Rim to the Colorado River Trail, Corps members put their hearts and souls into digging, constructing and restoring the canyon’s assets. Photos from the park’s museum collection and other archives illustrate the rugged conditions. The well-researched book details not only the work men performed but their leisure time and daily life in camp. President Franklin Roosevelt’s ambitious plan paid off: The Corps saved national treasures and forever changed the lives of its members.
Author Robert Audretsch retired as a National Park Service ranger at the Grand Canyon National Park in 2009. Audretsch, who has degrees in history and library science from Wayne State University, has now devoted himself to research and writing full time about the Civilian Conservations Corps.
For more information, visit www.CCCBooks.org
Shaping the Park and Saving the Boys: The Civilian Conservation Corps at Grand Canyon, 1933-1942
ISBN: 978-145750-529-4 140 pages $19.95 US
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