Traverse City Record-Eagle

Record-Eagle 150th Anniversary

March 28, 2009

More than 100K men join CCC

The first 200 young men arrived at the Civilian Conservation Corps camp at Fish Lake near Buckley to start work with “grub hoe, ax and saw,” the Record-Eagle reported June 12, 1933. “By last night they had cut themselves a home out of the woods.”

Over the next nine years, more than 100,000 young men in CCC crews at camps across northern Michigan planted 484 million trees, spent 140,000 days fighting forest fires and constructed 7,000 miles of truck trails, 504 bridges and 222 buildings.

Hundreds of other workers hired locally through federal New Deal programs constructed highways from Five Mile Road to Kalkaska and from Traverse City to Old Mission and Kingsley. They improved stream banks to curtail erosion. They built an airport along Garfield Avenue and several other landing strips in northern Michigan. They also cleaned up and improved Clinch Park, city property on Boardman Lake and elsewhere.

The CCC came to an end in 1942. Its important legacy in northern Michigan is honored at the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum in North Higgins Lake State Park near Roscommon, about 15 miles south of Grayling. The museum is open Memorial Day to Labor Day.

— Loraine Anderson

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