United States Territories and Insular Possessions
At the time of the CCC, Alaska was still a territory but had two national forests, the Chugach and the Tongass. These two forests now make up Region 10 and have changed only slightly in size. The Chugach National Forest is located along the Gulf of Alaska in the southern part of the State, and the Tongass is in southeastern Alaska in the vicinity of the Alexander Archipelago. The two forests contain about 6 percent of Alaska's total land area. 
On April 19, 1933, Chief Forester R.Y. Stuart presented ECW Director Robert Fechner with a recommendation and work plan for starting the ECW program in Alaska. Stuart's plan called for a modified operation from the one being used in the States. Rather than using Army Corps jurisdiction, Stuart proposed that the Forest Service take charge of enrollment, distribution, and camp management. In addition to supervision of national forest work projects, the Service would be given nearly all the responsibilities accorded the War Department in other Forest Service regions. The Army's only function would be as purser.
Fechner's letter on April 21, 1933, to C.M. Granger, the Acting Forester, approved Stuart's Alaskan plan with few refinements. The resubmitted plan was given final approval by the Director on April 29, 1933.  President Roosevelt signed the order on May 5. Although not an Executive order, the plan carried the same power in memorandum form. 
Initial enrollment in Alaska was requested at 325 men, to be located in small, decentralized camps in the Chugach and Tongass Forests.  National forest camps were placed at Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Cordova, and Kenai Lake.  Camps stayed within national forest boundaries until 1937 when enrollment was increased and the project area expanded.
As a result of the additional enrollment and work load, the Forest Service began a cooperative program with the National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  The expanded program made special efforts to enroll Eskimos and other native Alaskans. Natives made up about one-half of the new enrollment.  CCC projects for natives were located in numerous places, including Saxman, Klawock, Craign, Metlakatla, Wrangell, Petersburg, Juneau, Angoon, Tenakee, Hot Springs, Hoonah, Annette Island, Warm Springs Bay, Yakutat, Klukwan, Sitka, Tyonek, Tititlek, and Chenaga.
Unlike other ECW programs created for American Indians, the Alaskan program displayed, at least nominally, a liberal and egalitarian approach.
However, on April 30, 1939, after 2 years of operation, the CCC decided to terminate projects involving Eskimo people. Program organizers recognized the impact that the CCC was having on the previously isolated cultural group. "Too much dependence on the white man's way was feared to be harmful to the Eskimos." 
Civilian Conservation Corps camps in Alaska were organized differently than camps elsewhere. Structurally and operationally, they were more similar to the Indian ECW. Enrollees were paid the same $30 per month, but only half was sent to their families. Of the remaining $15, $7 was retained each month until the man's discharge.  Camps were small, ranging in size from 20 to 40 men per camp. Enrollees were not confined by age or marital restrictions, and the camps were generally situated closer to their homes.  In some cases, native enrollees lived at home and commuted to local work projects. 
Floating camps were used near the coastal national forest lands. Forestry personnel suggested this type of camp as a solution to wet winter conditions and project isolation. Small crews could get better housing in float camps while continuing to work on limited winter work projects such as building spur roads.  Float camps were also called "Wannigans." They consisted of flat boats that could be towed from one work site to the next. 
Forest Service statistics indicate that most CCC work in Alaskan national forests focused on transportation improvements. Structural and recreation improvements were accomplished to a lesser degree and were proportionally much smaller in number than in other Forest Service regions. 
Construction projects on the Chugach National Forest typify the overall CCC accomplishment in Region 10. A major project on that forest was the construction of the Cooper Landing Truck Trail. Originally a dogsled trail, the Cooper Landing area was first designated for improvement in February 1937. To convert the trail into a service road, Forest Ranger W.H. Sherman identified the most difficult obstacles: bridge construction, cutting through rough terrain, making and setting road culverts.  What Sherman did not foresee were problems with inadequate equipment and undersized crews. Ice, floods, and glacier mud also slowed work.  The project took 2 years to complete using both CCC and civilian crews. Crews worked straight through the winter. 
With the completion of the Cooper Landing Truck Trail came the end of several related construction projects, such as bridges on Mud Lake, Kenai River, Cooper Landing, Lost Creek, and Quartz Creek. The same CCC camp also built a warehouse at Kenai Lake Ranger Station in 1934 and a combination breakwater and floating dock on Kenai Lake in 1935-36. Enrollees logged the timber for pilings and framing as well as doing the construction. Recorded temperatures on the breakwater project were as low as -35 °F. 
Recreational improvements were made on both the Chugach and Tongass Forests. Picnic shelters, bridges, trails, and roads were constructed. 
In the Tongass Forest, Alaskan natives were used on a unique architectural project. This was the restoration of Tlingit and Haida totem poles and village houses.
On Prince of Wales Island, totem poles were removed from the long empty Haida village of Old Kasaan, restored, and replaced in New Kasaan (fig. 27). The Whale House of Chief Sonihat was reproduced in detail. Forest Service Architect Linn Forest carefully documented the history and mythology of the totem poles and buildings by collecting oral histories. 
Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees in Alaska worked on several other forestry-related projects. Although not all projects were on national forest lands, most were on Government-owned land that was supervised by the Forest Service. Control of predatory animals, such as wolf trapping, was done in the Alaskan interior to help preserve reindeer herds. Native enrollees were used for herding and butchering the reindeer, and for gathering their brains to be exported as scent ingredients.  The Forest Service worked on predator control in cooperation with the Office of Indian Affairs and the USDA Biological Survey. 
The CCC made contributions to national defense in Alaska. Two CCC crews helped build the Annette Army Airfield and several other major landing fields. 
The ECW program officially started in Hawaii on December 11, 1933.  By 1938, enrollment had grown to 900 men with 675 enrollees working in the Territorial Forestry Commission and 225 in the Hawaiian National Park.
Director Fechner and Conrad Wirth, assistant director of the National Park Service, visited Hawaii in 1938 to inspect the program. In a letter to President Roosevelt regarding his trip, Fechner described the outstanding features of the Hawaiian CCC. Work projects closely resembled forestry projects in the States and appeared to be popular with the island residents. Fechner was most impressed with the cosmopolitan character of the enrollees, citing a camp that included men of 23 different nationalities residing in one camp. Fechner also found an interesting relationship developing between the CCC camps and local plantations.
Fechner noted that because of these associations, plantation conditions had improved, and more men were willing to return to work there. 
Emergency Conservation Work reached the Virgin Islands on December 6, 1934, long after it had been established elsewhere. The program recruited 160 enrollees from the islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas. There were no national forest lands; nevertheless, forestry was the program's primary accomplishment, and the Virgin Islands forestry department supervised the camps and work projects. As with the territorial possessions, the U.S. War Department acted only in a fiscal capacity.
Among the CCC's achievements in the Virgin Islands were the development of freshwater springs, windbreaks, and the seeding and growing of mahogany and bay trees. 
Authorization for an ECW program in Puerto Rico was given by President Roosevelt on May 5, 1933. The program was contingent upon Chief Forester R.Y. Stuart's work plan, which had been presented to and approved by Director Fechner 6 days earlier. Stuart's plan called for CCC work in the Caribbean National Forest and Insular Forests of Puerto Rico. An initial enrollment of 1,200 Puerto Ricans was to be supervised by the USDA Forest Service with William H. Barbour as forest supervisor. As in other areas outside the United States, the U.S. War Department was given a limited paymaster role in CCC management.
Camp organization in Puerto Rico was set up according to work projects. Large projects required a more permanent camp whereas smaller, seasonal projects were often located closer to enrollees' homes. Enrollees received $1.00 per day for living at home and $15.00 per month when living in camp. 
All enrollees and camp foremen were enlisted from the Puerto Rican population, and none were limited by age or marital status. After the initial period, men could enroll for 2 years. Because of the high population density, enrollment competition was strong, and vacancies were filled monthly. Eventually the Puerto Rican quota was raised to 2,400.  The average number of enrollees for all Puerto Rican CCC work was 2,100, distributed through 11 camps. 
Work projects on the Caribbean National Forest included transportation and recreation improvements and reforestation. The first project was to build a road through the cliffs and jungle of Loquillo Mountains, opening that area for recreation development and use. Observation points, trails, picnic areas, and campgrounds were built for local tourist use.  Additional work was done building and expanding forest nurseries. Years of poor timber management and overcutting had left Puerto Rican forests without usable structural lumber. Through nursery improvement and reforestation, the CCC reestablished growth of important tree species such as cedar, mahogany, and satinwood.  Other construction projects in the Caribbean Forest included bridges, fish hatcheries, swimming pools, parking areas, overnight cottages, and airplane landing fields. 
6. Robert Fechner, Annual report of the director of the CCC (Washington, DC; U.S. Government Printing Office; 1939): p. 73. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 35-3, 899.
13. James J. McEntee, Annual report of the director of the CCC (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1941): p. 47. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 35-3, 800.
15. Robert Fechner, Annual report of the director of the CCC (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1938): p. 54. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC: Record Group 35-3, 899.
20. Information on the fall and winter work of the CCC in the Chugach National Forest, Kenai Division, from October 1934 to March 1935. Located at: Forest Supervisor's Office, Chugach National Forest, Anchorage, AK; photograph collection.
21. See reference note 20. Also: Report on CCC activities in winter 1935-36, Chugach National Forest, Kenai Division, and report on Cooper Landing truck trail construction, Chugach National Forest, Kenai Division, 1934. Located at: Forest Supervisor's Office, Chugach National Forest, Anchorage, AK; photograph collection.
33. R.Y. Stuart. Letter and work plan sent to Robert Fechner, director, ECW, Washington, DC. April 25, 1933: pp. 1-3. Located at: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, NY; Official File 268, 1.
Last Updated: 07-Jan-2008