I. Recreational Demonstration Areas
Among many other features, Title II of the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) of June 16, 1933, authorized the creation of the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works to administer a program of public works "to conserve the interests of the general public." The projects were to include "conservation and development of natural resources, including control, utilization, and purification of water, prevention of soil or coastal erosion." This established the legislative basis for a program authorizing federal purchases of land considered to be submarginal for agricultural purposes but valuable for recreational utilization. As the recreational demonstration area program would unfold, such lands were to be purchased and developed as parks and later turned over to the states and municipalities for permanent administration.
On July 18, 1934, the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works allotted and transferred $25,000,000 from the $3,300,000,000 appropriation in the .4th Deficiency Act (Fiscal Year 1933 for NIRA) to the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation to construct a program of public works projects. These projects had been determined by the Land Program Committee of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA)--a committee established in January 1934 to coordinate a program for the reutilization of submarginal lands. Consisting of John S. Lansill, director, Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace, Harry L. Hopkins, FERA administrator, and W. I. Myers, governor of the Farm Credit Administration, this committee worked through coordinators appointed by the cooperating departments and agencies.Conrad L. Wirth was designated the coordinator for the Department of the Interior, and Matt Huppuch of the National Park Service served as his alternate. 
As described in a memorandum of July 16, 1934, the Land Program of FERA was to have six objectives. These were:
The Land Program would have three phases:
Four major types of projects would be carried out under the Land Program including demonstration agricultural, recreational, wildlife, and Indian lands projects. 
Of the $25,000,000 allotment made to the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation, $5,000,000 was to be used for the acquisition of certain lands for recreational demonstration use, and the National Park Service was designated to develop this phase of the program. The bureau had played an active role in the formulation of the FERA Land Program, and earlier in June 1934 Director Cammerer had indicated that the Park Service was already involved in drawing up guidelines for such areas:
The direct responsibilities of the Park Service in the demonstration recreational areas program included: (a) selection of areas; (b) acquisition of options and other pertinent data; (c) development of plans; (d) execution of such work as could be done by the CCC and FERA; and (e) preparation of agreements with the states and their political subdivisions regarding development, management, and maintenance of the areas. 
The recreational demonstration areas program became a major thrust of the National Park Service efforts in recreational planning and development in fiscal year 1935. A number of these projects were initiated under the authority of Executive Order 6983, dated March 6, 1935, to carry out the provisions of the National Industrial Recovery Act.  In his annual report for fiscal year 1935, Director Cammerer observed that the agency had undertaken
. . . studies of submarginal lands with a view to recommending reallocation of certain areas as demonstration projects to provide low-cost recreational facilities for concentrated urban populations, especially the underprivileged group . Studies were made in each of the 48 States in cooperation with State planning boards and State park authorities. In general the projects, when completed, will be turned over to State agencies for administration. Several, however, needed to extend the present national-park and monument system, are being considered for retention in Federal control.
During the year thirteen CCC camps had been established to develop these demonstration projects, and plans called for the use in part of thirty-one camps for that purpose in fiscal year 1936. 
By Executive Order 7028, dated April 30, 1935, the entire Land Program was transferred from FERA to the Resettlement Administration of the Department of Agriculture. Under this new arrangement land for recreational demonstration areas was to be acquired by the Resettlement Administration and developed under plans formulated by the National Park Service. 
By June 1936 there were under development forty-six recreational demonstration projects in twenty-four states. Nearly 500,000 acres were in process of acquisition with Resettlement Administration funds at a cost of approximately $5,000,000 to date. The areas were readily accessible to some 30,000,000 people, and the majority of the areas were being planned for the organized camping facility needs of the major metropolitan areas. It was anticipated that at least ten organized camps, each with a capacity of from 100 to 125 campers, would soon be in operation. In addition, other recreational facilities, including picnic areas, trails, and artificial lakes, had been developed. Wildlife, fire protection, and general development programs had also been initiated in many of the areas, using the technical assistance of Park Service personnel. 
On November 14, 1936, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 7496, transferring the forty-six recreational projects, together with real and personal property, contracts, options, and personnel from the Resettlement Administration to the National Park Service. The order also transferred the balances of the development allotments outstanding for the projects as well as the necessary authority to complete and to administer the projects. 
After the transfer to the Park Service all land acquisition and related legal activities for the recreational demonstration areas were placed under the Recreational Demonstration Project Land Acquisition Section of the Branch of Recreational Planning and State Cooperation with Tilford E. Dudley as chief. Planning for acquisition was centralized in this section with area attorneys assigned to project, district, and regional offices as necessary and answering directly to Dudley. Regional officers were given the responsibility for accepting land options and providing general administrative oversight of the projects. 
The National Park Service implemented the recreational demonstration area program with enthusiasm. In June 1937 Director Cammerer described these areas as constituting "a unique form of land use increasingly valuable to the American people, affording outlets for out-of-door recreation accessible to congested populations, and retiring from agricultural use unarable lands of no economic worth." At the time forty-seven organized campgrounds were under construction in twenty-four recreational demonstration areas, and fifteen campgrounds had just been completed for use that summer. Waysides were being developed along main highways in Virginia and South Carolina for the accommodation of those seeking one-day outings. Some 12,000 relief workers and 4,500 CCC enrollees were assigned to the Park Service projects. Thus far, a total of 99,513 acres had been acquired for the program, and of this total 3,607 had been acquired during fiscal year 1937. While the Park Service still intended to turn the majority of the areas over to the states after development, it had determined to retain several under its jurisdiction for incorporation into the National Park System. 
Considerable progress was made in the planning, layout, and development of camping facilities in the recreational demonstration areas during fiscal year 1938. According to the annual report of Director Cammerer for that year:
Thirteen wayside parks contiguous to principal highways in Virginia and South Carolina were also under development with each area being equipped with picnic facilities and water and sanitary facilities.
Altogether, the recreational demonstration area development had been carried out by some 8,000 relief workers and 2,300 CCC enrollees in fiscal year 1938. A total of 352,874 acres had been acquired for the areas, title to 253,361 acres of which was cleared that year. 
The Park Service published a brochure, entitled "An Invitation to New Play Areas," during the spring of 1938 that described the objectives and facilities of the recreational demonstration areas:
By June 1939 the National Park Service had acquired 374,537 acres for the recreational demonstration area program. Declarations of taking had been filed to acquire all remaining tracts for which funds were available. Sixty organized camps and numerous picnic areas and public bathing facilities had been or were nearing completion. There had been a 400 percent increase in the number of camper-days during the past year as well as a similar increase in day-use patronage. One area, Swift Creek Recreational Demonstration Area in Virginia, alone had more than 100,000 visitors. In addition to the summer use of organized camps, there was a great increase in short-term camping throughout the year. The summer camping programs were operated by county governments, community chest agencies, city boards of education, YMCA and YWCA organizations, youth committees, and in South Carolina directly by the Division of State Parks. An even greater variety of agencies used the camps on weekends and holidays. 
As further development of recreational demonstration areas began to slow in fiscal year 1940, the National Park Service issued a general statement of policy regarding the objectives, successes, and values of such areas. According to a memorandum issued by Director Cammerer on September 18, 1939,
Although funding and development programs for the recreational demonstration areas began to decline in fiscal year 1940, some improvements necessary to complete partially-finished projects continued to be made, and visitation and public use of the areas' facilities continued to increase In 1940 visitation to the areas doubled for the third consecutive year. Approximately 600 rural and urban organizations from 200 different communities used the group camping facilities which could accommodate some 7,500 persons at a time. 
By 1941 it became increasingly clear the recreational demonstration areas were becoming a financial drain on the bureau. No regular appropriation for the administration and operation of the areas had been passed by Congress, and efforts to transfer them to the states had been rebuffed. Inadequate funding "made it inadvisable to attract public attention to the recreational opportunities available." Nevertheless, the 100 organized campgrounds had been in continuous use throughout the summer of 1940, and approximately 1,000 organizations made use of the facilities for weekend and holiday camping throughout the year. The picnic areas, group tent camping sites, public campgrounds, and bathing facilities were used to capacity.
The Kings Mountain and Cheraw recreational demonstration areas and four waysides in South Carolina were leased to the Division of State Parks of the South Carolina Forestry Commission for administration and operation of the organized campgrounds, refectories, and public bathhouses. Arrangements were made for the state recreation directors to supervise the activity programs in many of the other states. Because many of the areas were near military and industrial defense installations, the recreational demonstration areas were being used increasingly by personnel in the armed forces and war-related industries. 
ln October 1941 the Park Service published An Administrative Manual for Recreational Administrative Areas. The purpose of the manual was to provide for the uniform proper use, management, protection, and maintenance of the areas and to reiterate the agency objectives for their establishment. According to the manual the objectives and types of areas established by the Park Service were:
The types of areas, that comprised approximately 400,000 acres, were:
The manual also included a list of the recreational demonstration areas. It should be noted that the sixty-two separate areas listed below is not identical with the list of legally designated forty-six recreational demonstration projects, some of which consisted of two or more areas:
With several exceptions it was not the intention of the National Park Service to administer the recreational demonstration areas indefinitely. Once planned and developed they were to be turned over to the states or municipalities. In 1939 an act (H.R. 3959) passed Congress authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to convey or lease them to the states or local government units when they were prepared adequately to administer them. President Roosevelt, however, vetoed the bill on August 11, 1939. He believed that some of the projects might be of use to other federal agencies, that the legislation should be amended so that the transfers not involve the federal government in legal or moral commitments, and that the transfer should require presidential approval. 
A bill incorporating the changes recommended by President Roosevelt passed Congress on June 6, 1942. The act contained an additional provision that the grantees must use the recreational demonstration areas exclusively for public parks and recreational and conservation purposes. If they failed to do so the lands would revert to the federal government.  By 1946 virtually all recreational demonstration areas had been conveyed to the states, the last such transfer taking place in 1956. 
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