On-line Book
cover to
The CCC and the NPS
Cover Page




    Brief History of the CCC

     NPS Role

    NPS Camps


    Overall Accomplishments



The Civilian Conservation Corps and
the National Park Service, 1933-1942:

An Administrative History
Chapter Two:
The National Park Service Role
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The administration of the Emergency Conservation Work in national parks and monuments was handled on two levels: The Washington Office approved projects and provided quality control; the park superintendents administered the overall ECW program within their parks and, on occasion, in nearby state parks. The superintendents submitted architectural plans to the chief of construction for either the eastern or western parks. The chief of the Eastern Division, Branch of Engineering provided supervision for all areas under NPS jurisdiction without regularly appointed NPS superintendents. [4] Plans for NPS undertakings affecting natural and cultural resources were reviewed by landscape architects foresters, engineers, and historical technicians to ensure protection from damage or overdevelopment. These experts also provided quality control for all NPS projects. Some of them were stationed in the Washington Office to act as consultants to park superintendents; others were placed within national parks and monuments, where they were assigned specific areas of responsibility. Park superintendents could draw from this pool of experts when work projects began. [5]

The task for carrying out the ECW program belonged to the park superintendent. He was in charge of park work and was sometimes assigned specially designated areas of responsibility outside the park. The superintendent directed his staff in the preparation of work plans, prepared biweekly reports on the progress of the work, and prepared a project completion report at the end of each undertaking. This report described the cost of the project and gave a narrative description of the conditions before, during, and after the project. The park superintendent also hired and evaluated all ECW camp work supervisory personnel. The superintendent was encouraged to hold regular meetings with the camp superintendents and NPS technicians to discuss the progress of the conservation work. At first, the Washington Office informed the field officers on procedures through memorandums; later a handbook on ECW procedures was compiled and distributed to the field. [6] During the second year of the ECW many of these procedures were clarified. The superintendent of each national park and monument was required to formulate a work program for each ECW camp in his jurisdiction. Within parks, the conservation work was to be done exclusively on park lands or on lands contemplated for inclusion in other parks or determined necessary for protection of park lands. All cleanup, thinning, and stand improvement would be done under the supervision of foresters or landscape architects. [7]

The state park parks program was administered from district offices. In an April 1933 meeting between Director Albright and Conrad Wirth, it was decided to divide the country into four administrative districts, with Washington as the East Coast headquarters, Indianapolis as the Midwest headquarters, Denver as the Rocky Mountain headquarters, and San Francisco as the West Coast headquarters. (The districts were also called regions during some periods of the 10-year state parks program administration.) Respectively, John M. Hoffman, Paul Brown, Herbert Maier, and Lawrence C. Merriam were appointed as district directors. Their offices began operation on May 15, 1933. To help Conrad Wirth administer the program, S. Herbert Evison was chosen as his assistant (see following organizational chart). [8]

The district directors supervised the work in the various states, and their staffs evaluated work projects and recommended future projects. Staff inspectors were chosen from the landscape architect and engineering professions, and they were responsible for the progress and quality of the projects and for revising and perfecting design plans.

There was one inspector for every five to seven camps, who remained in the field moving from one camp to the next. Every 10 days the inspectors submitted reports to the district offices and Washington. Based on Washington guidance, the inspectors were to discourage any undertakings that would adversely affect the natural character of the park and prevent those activities that would prove harmful to the native animals and plants. Ideally, they were to bring to the states information concerning good forest management practices and to promote high-quality development. The NPS Washington Office made the final determination on new state parks projects, new camps, requests for funding allotments, personnel matters, and land acquisition. [9]

State ECW camps were administered by the state authorities, but the technical supervisors and project superintendents were paid out of federal funds. The states were given a specific allotment and were responsible for dividing these funds among the various camps under their jurisdiction. The Park Service assisted the states in drafting legislation necessary to the planning, development, and maintenance of their state park systems and with technical guidance and assistance. State parks work projects involved recreational development, conservation of natural resources, and restoration and rehabilitation of cultural resources. [10]

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Last Modified: Tues, Apr 4 2000 07:08:48 am PDT

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