The idea for the Civilian Conservation Corps sprang into action almost overnight, in March 1933, during the magnificent ferment of the first hundred days of Roosevelt’s New Deal. It became one of the most successful projects of the Thirties, acclaimed by both parties.
The theory was simple: we had a lot of young men out of work; outdoor work was good for young men; therefore, let’s get the boys out into the woods! Within weeks, the first experimental CCC camp was in operation at Camp Roosevelt, two hours west of Washington, D.C., in the green woods of the George Washington National Forest. Reserve Army officers were called back on active duty to supervise the boys, and out into the woods they went with shovel and axe. Within a few months, camps began to mushroom throughout the country, with about two hundred boys in each.