Everything looked hopeless! It was 1933. Nationwide employment was 25%, but for young men the rate was even higher. Many had quit school to try and support their families, but without work experience or suitable education they had enormous difficulties finding jobs. Many of these youths felt they had no hope. A lot of them left home, “riding the rails,” trying to find even the most measly employment. Some even turned to a life of crime.
But the new president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Congress offered a legislative answer to these hopeless young men. Join the Civilian Conservation Corps and get your room and board, a small monthly stipend, and even the ability to send money home to your family. Live close to nature, learn a new job skill while working in a national park or national forest, and even have an adventure such as fighting a forest fire. Thus began one of the most dramatic periods in the development of Grand Canyon National Park.
From May 1933 through July 1942, thousands of young men worked throughout the park building trails, fences, roads, buildings, campgrounds, phone lines, trail resthouses, and making countless other improvements. Such a period of furious activity had rarely occurred in the park. By the time the last young man left the park in 1942, park infrastructure had advanced as much as fifty years. Many young men returned to civilian life with valuable work and life skills and ultimately served their country honorably in World War II.
In this volume learn what these young men experienced in their own words. Learn about the many jobs the CCC enrollees did while at the canyon. See amazing historic photos of them hanging by ropes while building trails and stringing the trans-canyon telephone line. Discover how their time at the canyon improved their lives and the lives of their families, and how it developed in some of them a newfound love of nature. Hear about one CCC boy who met his future wife at the canyon!
Robert W. Audretsch first hiked Grand Canyon in 1977 and has logged nearly 10,000 miles hiking and running trails below the rim. His intense passion for the canyon is equaled only by his love for those brave young men and their enduring work. Audretsch worked as a park ranger at the canyon for nearly twenty years, retiring in 2009. During that time he extensively studied the geology, natural history, and human history of the canyon. His intimate knowledge of Grand Canyon, along with his thorough research in archival collections, makes this book a “must read” for anyone interested in Grand Canyon or the Civilian Conservation Corps.