Region 8The Southern Region
Region 8 contained national forests in 11 States from 1933-42. Those States were Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
The names and numbers of the forests changed considerably during the years the program operated. Because of heavy settlement and Federal land acquisition by purchase in the Eastern United States, less forested land was put into national forests than in the West. The 1937 estimates show the Southern Region with 36 percent of all forested land in the country, only 3 percent of which was national forest land. 
Land was acquired as purchase units during the CCC period and these areas later became new forests or parts of already established national forests. Some lumber companies that had become Depression casualties were able to sell their lands to the Federal Government.  In other cases money from the CCC treasury was used specifically to buy lands requiring conservation work to make them economically productive. Federal ownership was perceived as the sole resource capable of handling the tremendous costs of timber production and conservation.  By 1942, approximately 36 national forests or purchase units had been established in the region (table 6). 
Table 6Region 8 national forests and purchase units, 1942
Enrollee distribution, conditioning, and camp administration in Region 8 came under the jurisdiction of three different Army Corps Areas. Most of the States belonged within IV Corps Area. States in other corps areas were Texas and Oklahoma in VIII Corps Area and Arkansas in VII Corps Area. Conditioning and distribution centers in IV Corps Area were Forts Barrancas, FL; McClellan, AL; Oglethorpe, TN; and Bragg, NC. In VIII Corps Area they were Forts Sam Houston, TX, and Sill, OK. The closest VII Corps Area center for Arkansas enrollees was the Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, MO. 
Unlike the western sections of the country, enrollment quotas in Region 8 were sufficient to handle the projected work load. Acting Adjutant General James McKinley announced a final quota for the region of 40,700 men.  Enrollees from States in this region were sometimes sent west, where more publicly owned lands offered more work opportunities. Within Region 8 only half of the CCC work force was used on its national forests. About 13 percent of the country's CCC work on national forests occurred in this region and about 14 percent of all CCC forestry work. 
In the summer of 1933, 74 national forest camps opened in the Southern Region. More than half of these camps were in the mountains of Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee. During the second enrollment period, the winter of 1933-34, the number of camps operating rose to 98, with significant increases in Arkansas, Florida, and Mississippi. Camp numbers remained relatively constant until the winter of 1935-36, when the addition of several purchase units and 11 Texas camps brought the total to 123. By 1941, national forest camps were decreasing in anticipation of the end of the CCC and an increase in men entering national defense work. Only 60 camps operated in the 16th period. 
Several all-black camps were located in South Carolina, Florida, and Mississippi. Small numbers of black enrollees were integrated into camps in other States where black recruits were too few in number to form separate camps.  Proportionate to the total black population and its relatively poor socioeconomic status, the number of black camps in Region 8 was low. This was a CCC issue that demanded attention yet was never fully addressed.
Fechner's 1935 order to keep CCC camps racially segregated received mixed reactions, although few people challenged it openly. In one area, complaints alleged that white clerical workers were being discharged and replaced by black enrollees who were "unqualified" for the work.  The complaints were answered with an authorization that "unqualified" black enrollees could be superseded by "qualified" white ones.  Enforcement of the CCC segregation policy meant greater discrimination toward blacks, as few all-black camps were formed and access to white camps was usually forcefully denied. 
Statistical data on Region 8's national forests show transportation improvements receiving the most emphasis. Forest culture, fire protection, and recreation improvements were also primary accomplishments.  Significant variations in work projects occurred throughout the region, depending on the needs and problems targeted in each area. Differences in topography and climate shifted priorities. For instance, in Texas and Oklahoma, reforestation was more prominent.  Regional Forester Joseph Kircher supervised all work projects in the Southern Region.
It was recognized from the beginning a national forest protection system must be established before other development could be allowed. In addition to roads and trails, lookouts, firebreaks, and an organized firefighting crew were essential protective measures.
Once recreational development was started, the CCC constructed hundreds of new and improved camp and picnic sites throughout the region. Trails and shelters were constructed for hikers and campers in nearly every State, such as the Collier Spring Shelter in Arkansas's Ouachita National Forest (fig. 14). Most notably, the CCC assisted in building the Appalachian Trail, which extends from Georgia to Maine. In Region 8 the trail passed through national forests in the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. 
Wildlife programs were instituted by the region's forests using CCC enrollees. Deer redistribution was conducted on the Pisgah and Nantahala Forests in North Carolina, the Chattahoochee in Georgia, and the Cherokee in Tennessee. Wild turkeys were transplanted in several forests. 
Region 8 had several forests grow notably successful as a result of CCC intervention. When Florida's Osceola National Forest was purchased in 1929, poor management and recurrent fires had made it economically unproductive. After 10 years of intensive management, major improvements were observable, and the forest was singled out as exemplary in the Eastern United States.  The Bienville National Forest in Mississippi was in a similar situation when the CCC began conducting fire suppression and timber stand improvements. Besides the forestry work, enrollees discovered it necessary to alter the local people's concept of public lands as places to heedlessly trespass and burn. 
The necessity for educating the public to the Forest Service's conservation policies and the CCC's role in carrying them out was a problem encountered throughout the region. The rapidly expanding national forest lands were considered a threat to many local forest users, an infringement upon their right to exploit forest resources:
The CCC responded to numerous emergencies in the region. In 1936-37, CCC crews aided in flood mitigation and cleanup in Tennessee and Arkansas. Tornadoes in Florida in 1933 as well as in Georgia and Alabama in 1936 also forced CCC forestry camps into action.  Mississippi Governor Sennett Connor requested 80 additional CCC camps for reforestation work in his State's hill country, indicating that forestry work was ultimately the best way to lessen flooding along the Mississippi River and in the delta area. 
Forest fire protection involved using enrollees in lookout towers and for firefighting. Regional Forester Kircher pointed out the protective value of educating so many young men about forest fires.  A unique program started by Kircher in South Carolina combined subsistence farming with forest fire control. In an attempt to retain better lookout personnel, he offered qualified farmers a small salary and piece of farm land adjacent to lookout towers. Tenants were required to have farming experience, families, and farm animals, and be willing to take care of the land and operate the lookouts. The CCC helped by building small houses and outbuildings for the tenants, fencing fields and preparing them for farming, erecting new lookout towers, and improving available water sources. 
The Forest Service and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) collaborated on reforestation and fire control projects, primarily on TVA lands. The Forest Service exercised administrative control, whereas the TVA was responsible for the technical details. National forest CCC camps assisted the TVA by gathering pine cones and hardwood seeds for propagation in forest nurseries. Camps in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Arkansas participated in these efforts, collecting some 10,000 bushels of seed in 1933. Shortleaf pine, Virginia pine, black locust, yellow-poplar, and the more scarce pitch pine were among the species collected. 
3. R.Y. Stuart. Memorandum for H.A. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, DC; April 18, 1933: pp. 1-4. Located at: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, NY; Official File 268, 1.
6. James F. McKinley. Letter to Corps Areas I-IX, announcing State quotas for CCC. April 18, 1933: pp. 2-3. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 35-6, 907, vol. 1, item 41.
17. "Osceola National Forest, Florida." pp. 1-2. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 95-144, 7. Also: John D. Guthrie. Letter to Mark S. Watson, Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, MD. February 7, 1940: p. 1. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 95-144, 7.
24. "CCC boys will help Forest Service harvest 10,000 bushels of pine cones and tree seeds for Tennessee Valley planting." October 31, 1933: pp. 1-3. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 95-144, 9.
Last Updated: 07-Jan-2008