I propose to create a civilian conservation corps?confining itself to forestry, the prevention of soil erosion, flood control, and similar projects. I call your attention to the fact that this type of work is of definite, practical value, not only through the prevention of great present financial loss, but also as a means of creating future national wealth?This enterprise is an established part of our national policy. It will pay dividends to present and future generations?" President Franklin D. Roosevelt,1933
With those words to Congress in March of 1933, newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), one of the key elements of the "New Deal". At the time, America was in the midst of a deepening national crisis, brought on by the financial collapse of the stock market in 1929. Thousands of businesses were failing and millions of Americans were unemployed. President Roosevelt's "New Deal" consisted of a series of new, federally funded programs designed to put America back to work and rebuild the national economy.
Between 1933 and 1942, the CCC put over three million young men to work restoring the nation's natural resources and constructing park and recreation areas. Virginia benefited greatly from their efforts. The first six Virginia State Parks - Hungry Mother, Douthat, Fairy Stone, Westmoreland, Staunton River and Seashore - were built by the men of the CCC. Another CCC-built project, The Swift Creek Recreation Demonstration Area, was eventually deeded to the state by the federal government and became Pocahontas State Park.
Many of the original structures here in the park are marked with the bright yellow CCC logo. We hope that you will take time to notice and appreciate the wonderful legacy left by the men and boys of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Whether it is the handsome stonework on a bridge or retaining wall, the large, hand-forged hinges on a log cabin door, or one of the impressive log and stone picnic shelters the craftsmanship and attention to detail that became the hallmark of CCC construction is evident.