Region 3The Southwestern Region
Arizona and New Mexico make up Region 3. During the Civilian Conservation Corps period, the Southwestern region supervised 14 national forests. The forests in Arizona were the Coconino, Coronado, Crook, Kaibab, Prescott, Sitgreaves, Tonto, and Tusayan. Those in New Mexico were the Carson, Cibola, Gila, Lincoln, and Santa Fe. The Apache National Forest had land area in both States.  At the time of the CCC, Region 3 contained 4 percent of the total forest area in the United States and 14 percent of the national forest land. Within the region, 92 percent of the forest area was national forest land. 
Initial announcements called for a total of 51 camps in Region 3 and an enrollment quota of 8,650, with 4,800 men to be placed in 28 Arizona camps and the remaining 3,850 in 23 New Mexico camps.  During the first period, 37 camps were actually opened. Camps were distributed as follows: Sitgreaves, Tonto, Carson, and Lincoln National Forests had two camps each; Crook, Prescott, Cibola, and Gila had three camps each; Coronado, Santa Fe, and Apache had four camps each; and Coconino had five camps. 
Although the arrangement of camps changed, the total number operating in the second period, winter 1933-34, remained constant. A camp administered through the national forest system opened near Las Cruces, NM, on the Jornado Experimental Range and closed on May 17, 1935.  An average of 20 CCC camps continued operating in Region 3 until 1942, when the organization ended.  By 1937, Arizona and New Mexico carried about 4 percent of the CCC's work force on the country's national forest lands and 2 percent of all CCC forestry-related work. 
Region 3's CCC camps were administered as part of Army Corps Area 8, based at Fort Sam Houston, TX. Enrollees were first sent to Fort Bliss at El Paso, TX, where they underwent a 2-week conditioning and training program.  Officers from Fort Bliss inspected campsites proposed by the USDA Forest Service and certified them for occupation. Later, Fort Huachuca, AZ, also became a conditioning and distribution center.  About 12,000 men passed through the two forts on their way to the work camps. As the number of camps increased the two States were divided into subdistricts for better administration. The subdistricts were eventually replaced by five districts: Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Silver City, and Fort Bliss. 
Enrollees working in the region's forest camps came principally from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. As previously noted, some camps from Colorado and Wyoming moved to Region 3 during winter periods. A few camps were organized in the East and sent to the eighth corps area. 
In 1935, 16 camps in Region 3 reported having black enrollees enlisted in their work projects. As many as 14 blacks were enrolled at Camp F-10-A at Portal, AZ.  Civilian Conservation Corps alumni from other camps said that black enrollees were "well-integrated" into their camps, although most worked in the kitchens and stayed in camp. Some fighting was initially reported between local men and enrollees recruited from Texas and Oklahoma.  There were also tensions reported between Mexican-Americans and one or two camp supervisors. 
The Arizona Transient Administration operated work camps for transients in the region. These camps worked with the CCC on projects requiring additional labor, such as the Sabino Canyon project and the Montezuma Pass Road in the Coronado Forest. 
Choosing campsites in Region 3 was complicated by water shortages. A 200-man camp consumed 3,000 gallons of water per day at a minimum. Finding enough water to support the camps, particularly in southern Arizona and New Mexico, took careful planning and engineering skill. Water systems at Cave Creek and Box Canyon on the Coronado were constructed by El Paso contractors, and were still not finished until after the camps were already operating.  In some cases, water was pumped by engine from distant springs. Alex Gonzales, former enrollee at the Sunnyside Camp near Canelo, AZ, stated that enrollees were trained to operate the machinery and care for any problems that developed. 
The first camps in Region 3 were at Treasure Park on the Coronado National Forest and at Pinal Mountain on the Crook National Forest, now the Tonto. The 2 camps began operating on May 24, 1933, and had 525 enrollees divided between them.  Within days, many more camps were established.
The Pinal Mountain Camp, F-16-A, was located south of Globe, AZ. J.F. Johnson was the first Forest Service superintendent. The camp did road and trail construction, erosion control, and recreational improvements. Enrollees built several buildings now used by the Globe Ranger Station and erected a lookout tower on Signal Peak. 
The Pinal Mountain Camp operated three side camps at different times in the nearby area. One was located on Cherry Creek, one at the J.K. Ranch, and one at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior, AZ. The Boyce Thompson Arboretum Camp provided labor for the nursery, raising plants for range revegetation and other forestry projects. 
Regional Forester Frank Pooler realized the importance of utilizing side camps. In July 1933, 38 side camps were detached from 22 main camps. These camps ranged in size from 3 to 65 men, the largest being one of the Pinal Mountain side camps. Work projects included timber stand improvement, erosion control, rodent control, fencing of forest boundaries and range allotments, campground improvements, and construction of telephone lines, bridges, truck trails, and fire lookouts (table 5). 
Table 5ECW Southwestern Region report of fly camps as of July 12, 1933
Pooler predicted more extensive use of side camps could be made if official authorization was granted. He said side camps were needed for some of the most urgent projects.  Added costs in feeding extra camps were outweighed by savings in transportation. Pooler indicated loss of main camp privileges, such as educational classes, was offset by training in special lines of work at side camps. Furthermore, greater opportunities for "practical application of woodcraft" were available. 
Historically, many of the southwestern forest reserves were used for livestock grazing, and forest practices were essentially attempts at range management. Years of unregulated grazing on public lands created unpleasant situations between Federal employees and livestock owners, as well as causing soil and forage deterioration from overgrazing on vast tracts of land. One year after the CCC was formed, the Taylor Grazing Act was passed. This act endeavored to control range destruction. The Forest Service had organized grazing allotments for many years. Allotments were useful for enforcing grazing restrictions and for providing ranchers better management over their stock. As supervision improved, so did local relations. 
The CCC played multiple roles in helping the Forest Service restore the national forests in the Southwest. Enrollees assisted in surveying and making range allotments. They helped build fences and install cattle guards. As Don Willis, an enrollee alumnus, put it, small units of men would follow surveyors making post holes, dynamiting and clearing the holes, hauling and setting juniper posts, and stringing wire. Juniper, he said, was preferred for its endurance. 
Other CCC projects were oriented toward water development and water-related activities. In forested areas, watershed management and protection were vital to timber improvement. Water supplies for irrigation and livestock on adjacent nonforested land were also affected. Dams were built to hold or divert water and curtail soil and gully erosion. New water supplies and springs were developed. Stock tanks were built to provide more stable supplies and regulate stock distribution around watering areas. An Arizona camp newspaper reported water developments in that district alone had made possible the maintenance of 600 additional head of stock.  The Cartwright Dam on the Tonto National Forest was one such CCC project.  Rapid improvements on overgrazed range lands were noted by Forest Service personnel traveling in New Mexico's Gila National Forest in 1934.  An estimated 5,517 man-months were spent on water development in Region 3 between 1935 and 1939. 
As part of watershed protection, the CCC carried on an active firefighting program. Truck trails, telephone lines, and lookout houses and towers were constructed. One CCC-built tower on Mount Ord in the Tonto Forest is still occupied year round.  This 65-foot steel tower was built in 1935-36 along with the Mount Ord Truck Trail, numerous erosion check dams, and a section of the first direct road between Mesa and Payson.  The older, less portable, bot more architecturally creative wooden lookouts, such as the one constructed by Camp F-24-NM in the Lincoln National Forest near High Rolls, NM, offer a marked contrast to the steel towers.
The Forest Service in Region 3 became dependent upon CCC labor for firefighting purposes. Camp distribution, however, was set so that Region 2 camps returned to northern sites just as the spring and summer fire season began. This arrangement was deplored by the southwestern foresters, who needed as much manpower as they could find for fire suppression in the dry climate.  In 1935 an estimated 5,332 man-days were spent in Region 3 on fire-related projects by CCC enrollees. 
Besides fire control, timber protection included programs directed against twig blight, a fungus disease of ponderosa pine, the principal sawtimber species in Region 3. Civilian Conservation Corps crews worked to cut and burn infected trees before the disease spread. The Bureau of Plant Industry provided the working knowledge needed to carry out the project. More than 44,000 acres of pine were treated by the end of 1935. 
Reforestation efforts were spearheaded by CCC enrollees who built the Fort Valley Nursery on the Coconino National Forest in Flagstaff, AZ.  Some crews collected bushels of pine cones from the Coconino and Sitgreaves Forests while other crews prepared the seed for planting and tended young seedlings. Two-year-old seedlings were transplanted on burned or logged forest lands.  Camp F-5-A in Flagstaff was responsible for building a 200,000-gallon concrete reservoir to supply the nursery's water needs. 
In addition to Fort Valley Nursery and the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, near Superior, AZ, the CCC was involved in range nursery production in Glenwood, NM.  CCC work at the Santa Rita Range Reserve in Arizona contributed to research on deer feeding habits and their impact on young trees. 
Ranger stations and other Forest Service buildings were constructed in many localities in Region 3. The Sandia ranger's residence in Tijeras, NM, is one example.  The Ashdale Ranger Station in the Tonto National Forest was built in 1934 by the Ashdale CCC Camp, F-34-A, and the A-Cross Ranger Station in the same forest was constructed in 1934 by Camp F-29-A, the A-Cross CCC Camp. 
Because of the region's population distribution, recreation facilities were specifically located near urban centers. The CCC worked on constructing roads for better accessibility as well as developing campgrounds and picnic areas. The Seven Springs picnic and camping area in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona was built by the CCC, as was a similar facility at Horse Thief Basin in the Prescott National Forest. 
Trails and roads were built for both recreational and forestry uses. The Swift Trail on Mount Graham in the Coronado Forest and the Coronado Trail in the Apache Forest were built by the CCC.  Various roads in the Tonto Forest constructed wholly or partially by CCC camps were the Ashdale-Bloody Basin Road, Onyx Mine Road, East Verde Road #199, Control Road #64, the Chamberlain Truck Trail, and the A-Cross-Tonto Creek Road. Important maintenance work was carried out on the Bush Highway. 
3. "State forest quota raised to 1,825 men." May 7, 1933. Supplied to the authors by John Irish, NACCCA, Chapter 44, Scottsdale, AZ. Also: ECW relation of work in prospect to state enrollment quotas (map). April 22, 1933. Located at: Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, Hyde Park, NY; Official file 268, 1.
ll. B.E. Meadows. Camp inspection report, Camp F-64-A. February 24, 1939: p. 2. Nogales, AZ: Pena Blanca Camp. Also: Report of investigation of Camp F-64-A. February 8, 1939: p. 6. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 35-114, 973.
13. Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees, Coronado National Forest. Interviewed by Alison Otis and Kimberly Lakin at Patagonia, AZ, for Pacific Crest Research and Services Corporation, Corvallis, OR. November 9, 1982. Located at: History Section, USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC.
14. M.J. Bowen. Letter to Charles H. Kenlan, assistant director, CCC, special investigation of Camp F-64-A. June 14, 1941: pp. 1-4. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 35-115, 973.
17. Alex Gonzales, CCC enrollee. Interviewed by Alison Otis for Pacific Crest Research and Services Corporation, Corvallis, OR, at Canelo Ranger Station, Canelo, AZ. November 9, 1982. Located at: History Section, USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC.
25. Don Willis, CCC enrollee. Interviewed by Alison Otis and Kimberly Lakin at Patagonia, AZ, for Pacific Crest Research and Services Corporation, Corvallis, OR. November 9, 1982. Located at: History Section, USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC.
29. James J. McEntee, Annual report of the director of the CCC (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1941) pp. 41-42. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 35-3, 899.
34. Frank C.W. Pooler. Statement on CCC program in national forests of Arizona and New Mexico. February 18, 1936: pp. 1-2. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 95-144, 9. Also: "CCC check forest insects and diseases." April 19, 1935: p. 1. Located at: National Archives and Record Service, Washington, DC; Record Group 95-144, 9.
Last Updated: 07-Jan-2008