Region 2The Rocky Mountain
Region Region 2 encompassed CCC camps in the national forests of Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado. Kansas, within Region 2, had no national forest land. During CCC operations, there were 7 forests in Wyoming: Bighorn, Black Hills, Medicine Bow, Teton, Washakie, Wyoming, and Shoshone; 2 in South Dakota: Black Hills and Harney; 1 in Nebraska: Nebraska; and 14 in Colorado: Arapaho, Cochetopa, Roosevelt, Grand Mesa, Gunnison, Holy Cross, Montezuma, Pike, Rio Grande, Routt, San Isabel, San Juan, Uncompahgre, and White River.  In 1937, estimates showed Region 2 as having 3 percent of the total forest area in the United States and 14 percent of all national forest lands. Ninety percent of the region's forested land was federally owned. 
Civilian Conservation Corps camps in Region 2 fell under supervision of Army Corps Areas 7 and 8. Fort Meade, SD; Fort Logan, CO; Fort E. Francis Warren, WY; Fort Sam Houston, TX; and Forts Robinson and Crook, NE, were responsible for enrollee distribution throughout the large area.  Until 1939, Fort Missoula, MT, supervised camps in western Wyoming. After that date, those camps became part of the Littleton, CO, District, which included Colorado and the other Wyoming camps. 
Initial quotas for the States were: Wyoming, 5,700 men; South Dakota, 1,300; Nebraska, 2,750; Colorado, 4,800; and Kansas, 3,750. A total of 18,300 men was enrolled for all technical services within those States.  The acting adjutant general, James McKinley, approved 65 national forest camps for the 1933 season.  In actuality, 50 camps began operation.  Twenty-one camps continued working into the winter of 1933-34. None were in Wyoming.  It had been anticipated earlier that Wyoming's winters would probably be too severe to carry on a work program. 
Projected work programs required importing enrollees from outside the region. The need was met to some degree by shifting camps seasonally with Region 3. Men enrolling in Colorado and Wyoming often found their camps moving to Arizona and New Mexico during the winter. Likewise, some southern enrollees moved north in the summer, and even recruits from Texas and eastern corps areas were brought in. Two camps, F-17-W and F-33-C, reported having black enrollees with no indication of camp or community disharmony. The greatest difficulty among out-of-State enrollees appears to have been homesickness. 
Among the first ECW camps to be established in Region 2 was Este Camp in the Black Hills National Forest, SD. On May 18, 1933, it opened on the same site as the old Este Logging Camp, a celebrated site where lumber was sawed from Case #1, the first timber sale on a national forest in Region 2 and the beginning of regulated cutting. It was not until the CCC began operating camps in the area, however, that intensive forestry was made possible. 
On June 3, 1933, the Tigiwon camp opened near Minturn in the Holy Cross National Forest, CO. Enrollees built the Tigiwon Road, Tigiwon Campground, and a network of nearby hiking trails. The Notch Mountain Trail and shelter house were part of this network.  A large community house was constructed by the Tigiwon Camp to accommodate annual pilgrims to the Mount of the Holy Cross. 
The Tigiwon camp was moved to Arizona for the winter and relocated the following spring in Norwood on Woody Creek. 
Another ECW camp opened June 22, 1933, in the Buford area of the White River National Forest. The camp's largest project was improving the Buford Ranger Station complex. Enrollees also engaged in road construction, campground development, and erection of piers on the north and south sides of the South Fork River. 
During the CCC period, the Rocky Mountain regional forester was Allen S. Peck. Peck favored the use of side camps for handling work more effectively. In answer to the Chief Forester's 1933 request for additional side camp information, Peck responded that the Forest Service in his region had established good relations with the Army in setting up side camps. Despite the CCC's current lack of an official policy on side camps, satisfactory progress had been made with the camps and their work. Existing side camps ranged from two-man teamster crews to 165 men on fire suppression. The average was 25 men on 26 crews, working out of 15 base camps. Work included rodent control, trail construction, drift fence construction, larkspur eradication, forest reseeding, campground improvement, and fire suppression. 
Regarding future policy, Peck recommended the Forest Service be given authority to use side camps without limitation. "There are certain classes of very important work included in our project plans which can not be done with any sort of efficiency, and in some cases can not be done at all, without the establishment of side camps."  As an example, the supervisor of Roosevelt National Forest, CO, pointed to a carpentry camp set up at the Buckhorn Ranger Station. A 9,500-foot mountain pass separated the site from the main camp, making transportation back and forth impractical. On its own, the side camp was able to complete the building project in 3 weeks. 
Civilian Conservation Corps work projects varied considerably throughout Region 2, though several broad categories of projects stand out. Transportation improvements, forest culture, structural improvements, and range work statistically dominate the list.  A significant amount of emergency work was performed, mostly firefighting and blizzard relief.
A 1937 estimate suggests timber conservation was valued at $6,200,000 for the region. The estimate included savings due to fire reduction, insect control, and increased growth resulting from timber stand improvements. Also noted was watershed conservation and its contribution to irrigation projects on private lands adjacent to the national forests. 
Civilian Conservation Corps work in the Nebraska National Forest was accomplished by a single camp in the Bessey Ranger District near Halsey, NE. Through enrollee efforts, more than 20,000 acres of drifting sand hills were successfully planted with ponderosa pine, jackpine, and red juniper (fig. 6). Enrollees from the Nebraska camp also expanded the Bessey Forest Nursery and produced nearly 30 million young trees. All phases of work, from seed collection to planting, thinning, and protection, were put into practice. 
Another major achievement was the development of a large public campground and picnic area in 1937. The facilities included a shelter house, bath houses, and swimming pool (fig. 7). Only the swimming pool has been remodeled. Other buildings remain intact. 
In the Harney and Black Hills National Forests of South Dakota, CCC camps also worked on fire suppression and forest protection. The years 1933-40 were among the driest in the area's history.  Raymond Adolphson, a former camp superintendent in the Black Hills, claims that his CCC firefighting crews were among the best in the country. 
Large reforestation projects resulted from the relentless fires (fig. 8). Bushels of ponderosa pine cones were collected for reseeding purposes. Thinning dead and useless wood from pine stands reduced fire hazards and increased growth of more valuable timber.  Favorable growth conditions for seed germination in the Black Hills and Harney Forests made tree density unusually high, thereby necessitating thinning to insure healthy tree growth. According to Harney Forest Supervisor J.F. Connor in 1934, it was not uncommon to find "dense young stands averaging 40,000 trees per acre and 15 inches tall." Connor indicated that 500 to 1,200 trees per acre would produce a healthy stand.  Measurements taken in 1939 showed diameter growth of trees in thinned areas had increased 400 percent and volume growth increased 800 percent. 
In areas where old growth had been thinned, CCC crews initiated firewood projects. In some places, needy persons were invited to collect, without charge, the thinned wood; in other cases, the South Dakota State Relief Committee was assigned the responsibility for distributing loads of wood removed by enrollees. Trains carried cords of wood to parts of the State where drought had limited the availability of firewood. 
Other CCC projects in the two forests included constructing Forest Service ranger station complexes; and building lookouts, such as the Harney Peak lookout, located at the highest elevation point in the Black Hills (fig. 9). Clearing old mill areas, stringing telephone lines, and eradicating porcupines (because of their proclivity for eating tree bark) were other projects. According to Adolphson, trail and road construction was minimal, because there were already many mining roads.  Recreation improvements were made at numerous Black Hills lakes, such as Bismarck, Mitchell, Glen Erin, Major, Roubaix, Victoria, and Sheridan. 
"Warrior" grasshoppers were controlled on 156,000 range acres where they were destroying livestock forage.  Additional range improvements consisted of drift fence construction to restrain wandering livestock; construction of livestock driveways; and construction and maintenance of dams, reservoirs, wells, and springs. Harney Forest Supervisor Connor said "the ranchers living in and near the Black Hills will receive immediate benefits from these works, in increased carrying capacity, better distribution, and better cattle." 
An outstanding accomplishment on the Harney Forest, initiated by Connor, was the construction of the Sheridan Dam near Rapid City, SD. The project was started August 15, 1938, and completed September 19, 1940. Men from three camps worked at it. The dam may be the largest constructed by the CCC, measuring 850 feet in length, 120 feet in height, 640 feet in width at the base, and 26 feet in width at the top. The resulting 400-acre Sheridan Lake became one of the largest lakes in the Black Hills. 
Reports from national forest camps in Wyoming stress the CCC's firefighting role. Prevailing dry conditions made 1935-37 tough fire years in the Shoshone National Forest. In 1935, three lightning-caused fires were contained by enrollees.  While fighting one 14,000-acre fire, enrollees reportedly walked long distances over rough trails and used supplies packed in by horses.  In August 1937, 14 CCC enrollees and 1 junior forester lost their lives fighting the Shoshone Blackwater Fire. Three Forest Service employees were given the American Forest Fire Foundation's Award for Heroism in Fighting Fire. 
Other projects in Wyoming's national forests involved protection of the Colorado and Missouri River watersheds, recreation development, and wildlife protection, especially preservation of the country's largest elk herds.  Transplanting beaver from overstocked areas to more favorable sites was yet another protective measure. Moreover, crews gathered data on wildlife by taking census and studying game ranges, migratory patterns, and feeding habits.  Bark beetle control was a continuing activity, especially in the Medicine Bow National Forest.  Blizzard relief was undertaken during the winter of 1936-37. 
The following projects reported by the Bighorn National Forest typify CCC undertakings throughout Wyoming:
Wyoming had a difficult time maintaining its camps, largely because of the harsh climate and environment and small, scattered population. On one occasion, a CCC camp inspector noted that Wyoming's camps were inferior ("the worst") to any others he had inspected, and desertion rates were high.
The situation was exacerbated by CCC Director Robert Fechner's 1936 mandate that all camp buildings be of the standard, portable-rigid type. Unfortunately, the buildings were not designed for Wyoming's climate, and poor assembly gave them even less resilience. Cracks in the walls leaked in rain, snow, and sand.
Fechner severely restricted the funds available for improving camp buildings, even under such desperate circumstances. Camp conditions never improved, and the use of portable buildings remained an issue throughout the CCC's existence in Wyoming. 
Civilian Conservation Corps work in Colorado closely resembled projects elsewhere in Region 2. Forestry practices included tree planting, thinning, and insect and rodent control. Road building and improvement, telephone line construction and maintenance, and construction of lookout towers and houses increased communication for fire control and timber conservation. Water-related activities consisted of building fish-retaining ponds and stocking streams with fish in the White River National Forest. Lakeside cleanup occurred in the Grand Mesa National Forest and reservoir improvement in the Rio Grande. Range work included eradication of larkspur, a plant poisonous to livestock, in White River, and fence construction in Gunnison.
Civilian Conservation Corps recreation developments were as important in Colorado as in other parts of the region. Among the most notable were projects associated with the newly conceived ski industry. A White River National Forest camp worked with the Roaring Fork Winter Sports Club and the WPA to build the first ski tow and trail on Aspen Mountain in 1936. Four years later enrollees helped begin the Red Mountain Ski Tow in Glenwood. CCC crews spent time clearing lift lines and ski trails.  Ski trails were also developed in 1937 on Berthoud Pass and at West Portal in the Arapaho National Forest. 
Examples of additional recreational improvements in the Arapaho were campgrounds at Maxwell Falls, Cub Creek, Echo Lake, Clear Creek, and Squaw Pass; picnic grounds at Cold Springs and Chicago Creek; observation decks at Juniper Pass and the Arapaho View Point (between Echo Lake and Squaw Pass).  In the Grand Mesa National Forest, CCC crews constructed the Crag Crest Trail, a horseback and hiking trail on the divide between Cottonwood and Island Lakes. The trail was completed in the fall in 1937.  In the Rio Grande Forest the CCC built campgrounds at Santa Maria and Clear Creek Falls. Two comfort stations still remain in the Del Norte Ranger District, one at the Upper Beaver Reservoir campground and the other (used as a fire cache) at the Del Norte Work Center.  Campgrounds in the Roosevelt National Forest, at Bellaire and Creedmore Lakes, were improved by CCC projects.  Hiking trails were constructed to Lookout Mountain, Hanging Lake, Crater Lake, Avalanche Creek, Marvine Lake, and Trappers Lake, in White River National Forest. 
The Colorado National Forests gained numerous non-recreational structures from the CCC. Ranger stations and administrative service buildings were one structural grouping. Improvements were completed at Redfeather Lakes in the Roosevelt, Idlewild, and Empire in the Arapaho, Norrie in the Holy Cross, Buford in the White River, and Collbran in the Grand Mesa National Forest. Three other significant buildings in the Grand Mesa, the Lands End Shelterhouse, Mesa Lakes Ranger Station, and Ward Lake Ranger Station, date from the CCC period. It is not clear, however, whether they were constructed by the CCC or WPA. 
Another structural group, bridges, was part of general road improvement. Bridges were standard projects on all of the forests. The Waunita Pass Road in the Gunnison National Forest has several examples of bridges built by the CCC.  The Trickle Park Road in Grand Mesa has numerous examples of culverts built on mountain roadways to facilitate rapid runoff during heavy storms or spring thaws.  A much more complex structure was the Chapman Dam in the White River National Forest, which took 3 years, 1936-39, to complete. 
Region 2 stands out for having had exceptional training programs, both on and off the job, in its CCC camps. Although most CCC camps had various programs, 1938 statistics show Region 2 as having the country's highest average number of technical personnel per camp. Because of these programs, enrollees were better able to secure jobs outside the corps. The jobs most often accepted by enrollees leaving the program were truck driver, laborer, clerk, and farmer. 
The first CCC training program in demolitions began in the Black Hills National Forest in 1933. Enrollees electing to work with explosives were required to take extra night classes in addition to training in the field. 
1. CCC camp directories, 1933-42. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 35-13, 888, 889. The Wyoming National Forest was actually administered by Region 4, but will be discussed in this section.
6. James F. McKinley. Letter to commanding generals in VII, VIII, and IX Corps Areas concerning approval of work projects on national forests. April 26, 1933. p. 7. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 35-6, 907, vol. 1, no. 58.
10. Walter Gallacher, The White River National Forest, 1891-1981. (Glenwood Springs, CO: White River National Forest; 1981) p. 25. Also: Nelson C. Brown. Letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. September 9, 1933. p. 1. Located at: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, NY; Official File 268.
12. Carl Dismant. Interviewed by Robert Miller, White River National Forest, Gleenwood Springs, CO. March 19, 1978. Located at: Forest Supervisor's Office, White River National Forest, Gleenwood Springs, CO.
16. Allen S. Peck. Letter to Chief Forester, USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC, with attachments from Black Hills National Forest and Roosevelt National Forest. August 2, 1933. pp. 1-2. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 95-144, 221.
20. Acting Forester, Region 2. Letter to Chief Forester, USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC. April 14, 1937. pp. 3-4. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 95-144, 21.
21. James J. McEntee, Annual report of the director of the CCC (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1941), pp. 40-41. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 35-3, 899.
22. Peter L. Clark. Personal communication with the authors by the acting district ranger, Bessey Ranger District, Nebraska National Forest, Halsey, NE. December 1,1982. Located at: Pacific Crest Research and Services Corporation, Corvallis, OR.
24. Ray Adolphson, former CCC superintendent, Black Hills National Forest. Interviewed by Kimberly Lakin for Pacific Crest Research and Services Corporation, Corvallis, OR, at Lakewood, CO. September 3, 1982. Located at: History Section, USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC.
25. Robert Fechner, Annual report of the director of the CCC (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1939) p. 71. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 35-3, 899.
26. J.F. Connor. "The CCC on the Harney National Forest." In: The Civilian Conservation CorpsSouth Dakota District history. C.N. Alleger, comp., Roubaix, SD: Camp F-6; 1934: p. 14. Supplied to the authors by Bill Sharp, Bozeman, MT.
28. Theodore Kreuger. "The CCC in the Black Hills National Forest." In: The Civilian Conservation CorpsSouth Dakota District history. C.N. Alleger, comp., Roubaix, SD: Camp F-6; 1934: p. 12. Supplied to the authors by Bill Sharp, Bozeman, MT.
34. Allen S. Peck. Press release to F.J. Murray, executive assistant, CCC publicity, Washington, DC. December 14,1935: p. 1. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 95-144, 9.
41. Jack Booth, Forest Supervisor, Bighorn National Forest, Sheridan, WY. Personal communication with the author. September 15, 1982. Located at: Pacific Crest Research and Services Corporation, Corvallis, OR.
49. Curtis W. Bates, District Ranger, Del Norte Ranger District, Rio Grande National Forest, Del Norte, CO. Personal communication with the authors. March 2, 1983. Located at: Pacific Crest Research and Services Corporation, Corvallis, OR.
50. "On-the-job, F-50-C, Co. 2805, an important project almost completed." The Redfeather Chieftain. March-April 1939; 34: p. 7. Located at: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, NY; Official File 268, 13.
56. On-the-job training (table). Off-the-job training (table). 1938. Number and kind of jobs secured by enrollees (table). 1938. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 35-30, 1581/56.
Last Updated: 07-Jan-2008