The New Deal
The Depression years were not only a time of economic distress, but an era of vast areas of the American landscape suffering from drought or deforestation. The need for widespread conservation measures coupled with the lack of employment for young men resulted in the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps as a part of FDR’s plan for national economic improvement. The CCC was officially created on March 31, 1933.
The seeds were sown for the need of the CCC nearly a half century or more prior to its creation. The prevailing timbering method of the early Twentieth Century was clear-cutting which seems ruthless mistreatment of the earth by shaving it bare of every tree!
Following years of logging, the scene on almost every hand throughout much of the Alleghenies was one of almost total devastation.This was especially true in eastern Tucker County where fires following in the wake of loggers even laid bare the bedrock.
The value of trees for slowing runoff to aid in flood prevention was given little thought until a disastrous flood occurred on the Monongahela River in 1907. Many of the mountains at the headwaters of the river were devoid of trees by this time and added to the magnitude of flooding. The need to protect and reforest the Monongahela headwaters was given great impetus with federal legislation in 1911 authorizing the purchase of land for creating the Monongahela National Forest. Fire suppression and reforestation were given priority among projects initiated with the establishment of the national forest.
Enrollees of the CCC had to be unemployed, unmarried and between the age of 18 and 25. Upon acceptance by the corps, recruits were required to enlist for 6 months and for their service received food, clothing and living accommodations.
For more information on the New Deal in Tucker County, please visit www.saveblackwater.org