The Great Depression had a hold on the nation when President Franklin D. Roosevelt came up with the concept of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

But decades later, the structural legacy of the program endures in Saguaro National Park West.

Phillip Brown, a park ranger with Saguaro National Park and Civilian Conservation Corps historian, says the work of the CCC is evident throughout the park.

“We’re looking at things that were built 70 or 80 years ago,” says Brown.

Natalie Luna Rose is also a park ranger with Saguaro National Park. She says the work of the CCC has advanced the mission of the park, and the remaining structures reveal details about the program.

She says she’s fielded many question about the multi-agency Civilian Conservation Corps.

“People loved this program,” Luna Rose says. Many suggest the program should be brought back, she adds.

“They say, ‘We need to bring this back, this would help the economy, this would help get young kids out back into the environment, get them away from their video games,’” she says.

Martie Maierhauser, director of Colossal Cave Mountain Park, says that park also owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to the men of the CCC.

From 1934 to 1937, the young workers constructed the limestone retaining wall and headquarters buildings. Inside the cave, they widened passages, laid flagstone pathways, installed handrails and lighting, and enlarged the entrance.

“These young men were lost,” says Maierhauser. “Their families were in dire straits.”

Yet through the CCC, she says, many of them were able to get high school diplomas, learn a trade or an art and “above all, they learned a work ethic that has stood them in good stead the rest of their lives.”

--

Saguaro National Park will host the 3rd annual Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Recognition Day on Saturday, March 31, 2012.

The event will be held at the Tucson Mountain District (west), 2700 N. Kinney Road from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Park entrance fee will be waived at the Red Hills Visitor Center for visitors participating in the CCC celebration.