To the Editor:
Reminiscent of the Great Depression with over 30 million Americans out of work, it’s time now to resurrect one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s most successful New Deal programs that did much to help the country out of its economic woes.
It was called the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a work relief program, which gave millions of young men between the ages of 18 and 25 employment on environmental conservation projects.
During its nine years of existence, the CCC planted billions of trees, constructed trails, shelters, and campground facilities in over 800 state and national parks, fought forest fires, built wildlife refuges, constructed and maintained roads, built bridges, re-seeded grazing lands, implemented soil-erosion controls, and performed many other good works. Many of the park amenities that we enjoy today are there thanks to the CCC.
The National Park Service currently has billions of dollars of unfunded requirements needed to maintain the nation’s National Park infrastructure in order to keep pace with the burgeoning numbers of visitors.
Resurrecting the CCC would help alleviate this urgent problem and the nation’s growing unemployment. Our oldest and most cherished National Park, Yellowstone, for example, experiences over 4.5 million visitors annually.
During the summer months, traffic is often bumper to bumper nearly everywhere in the park and constitutes a peril to the park’s wildlife. Yellowstone’s infrastructure needs to be upgraded and expanded to accommodate the enormous influx of visitors.
For the same reason, the size of the park needs to be increased. The same is true in many other national parks, and new ones need to be created. A strong conservation-minded president is again what the nation needs.
The establishment of the CCC in 1933 by executive order reflects the strong leadership in the White House of the time. Will that quality of leadership be forthcoming in 2020?