On-line Book

Book Cover
Presenting Nature








Design Ethic Origins

Design Policy & Process

Western Field Office

Park Planning

Decade of Expansion

State Parks

Appendix A

Appendix B


Presenting Nature:
The Historic Landscape Design of the National Park Service, 1916-1942
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VII. A NEW DEAL FOR STATE PARKS, 1933 — 1942 (continued)


Another source of funding and labor for state and local park development was the Works Progress Administration. The WPA was established by executive order by President Roosevelt in 1935 and headed by Harry Hopkins until 1939. This program paid wages for skilled labor in a variety of fields, including art, theater, architecture, writing, and engineering. WPA funds helped create reservoirs and lakes for recreation such as Lake Murray, Oklahoma, amphitheaters for public entertainment, lodges in state parks and national forests, murals for public buildings, public highways, and utility systems. Administered through state agencies, the funds were given to local governments and were designed to increase the purchasing power of paid workers on WPA projects and thereby stimulate the economy. In December 1935, the National Park Service began to cooperate with the newly created WPA by assuming responsibility for the technical supervision of the work programs of forty-one WPA work camps operating in state, county, and municipal parks.

The National Park Service's involvement was prompted by the state, county, and municipal agencies sponsoring the camps, who saw the program as an extension of the CCC program to conserve natural resources and develop public recreational areas as well as the emergency relief program for recreation demonstration areas. As a result, state park inspectors and National Park Service designers reviewed applications, commented on construction designs, and supervised progress in conjunction with their review of CCC work. WPA projects adhered to the same basic principles that guided emergency conservation work and public works construction.

The first year, projects took place in three federal, twenty-two state, and thirteen municipal park areas. WPA projects included large facilities built in state parks, such as refectories, lodges, museums, dams and artificial lakes, and large amphitheaters. This program also made possible the expansion of concessionaires' facilities in both national and state parks; one example was the Big Meadows Lodge and Cabin Development in Shenandoah National Park. In addition, through the WPA, the National Park Service took charge of a program to stabilize the North Carolina shoreline through the construction of sand fences and the planting of dunes. The park service continued to review and oversee WPA recreational improvements in state and local parks until the program ended in 1943 as the wartime economy eliminated the need for relief work. [43]

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