History of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

From 1933 to 1942, the Gila National Forest (NF) became home to several Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps. CCC enrollees signed up for six month work periods. They lived in camps run by the military and worked on projects for public land agencies. In exchange, they received valuable on-the-job training, three square meals a day, clothing, and a wage of $30 a month. At most camps, they also had access to educational classes, including basic literacy classes.

The CCC program provided young, unmarried, and unemployed men an opportunity to work in National Forests and other public lands during the Great Depression. While they worked to reduce erosion, build infrastructure, and preserve natural resources on these lands, the CCC enrollees also helped their families, sending $25 of their wages home each month.

From 1933 to 1942, about 17 CCC camps existed near and within the Gila NF. Several of the camps were associated with the Forest Service. Some were associated with agencies like the Soil Conservation Service, today known as the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The CCC’s influence on the National Forest System was great. Some types of CCC projects on the Gila NF:

  • Ranger Stations: Beaverhead, Luna Barn, Mimbres
  • Campground and picnic area improvements: Black Canyon, Catwalk, Iron Creek, Little Walnut, Pueblo Creek, Whitewater, Willow Creek
  • Road Construction: Bursum Road (NFSR 28), North Star Road (NFSR 150)
  • Telephone line construction and maintenance: Copperas Peak Area, Forest Boundary to Cliff, Mimbres-Beaverhead, Mogollon-Silver
  • Erosion control: Silver City Watershed
  • Fire Lookouts: El Caso, Mangas
  • Revegetation: Glenwood Nursery