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Saguaro Nat'l Park to honor Civilian Conservation Corps
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Saguaro Nat'l Park to honor Civilian Conservation Corps

Historians, exhibits will tell story of the CCC in Az

  • The Signal Hill picnic area is one of the sites the men of CCC worked on in the 1930s and is located at Saguaro National Park.
    Svadilfari/FlickrThe Signal Hill picnic area is one of the sites the men of CCC worked on in the 1930s and is located at Saguaro National Park.
  • The plaque honoring the Civilian Conservation Corps can be found at the Saguaro National Park.
    peppergrasses/FlickrThe plaque honoring the Civilian Conservation Corps can be found at the Saguaro National Park.
  • A structure was built by the CCC as a 'make work' project in the 1930s.
    lars hammar/FlickrA structure was built by the CCC as a 'make work' project in the 1930s.
  • Another view of the 'make work' project created by the CCC.
    lars hammar/FlickrAnother view of the 'make work' project created by the CCC.

Saguaro National Park will celebrate the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps and its members' contributions to Arizona and the United States on Saturday.

The 3rd Annual Civilian Conservation Corps Recognition Day will include historians and speakers who will discuss the CCC's history, said Natalie Luna Rose, spokeswoman for Saguaro National Park, in a news release.

The event will be held at the Tucson Mountain District, 2700 N. Kinney Rd., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with free admission to the park.

Historical photos, camp newspapers, rosters, documents and books also will be on exhibit.

The Civilian Conservation Corps was established in the 1930s as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal projects to get people back to work during the Great Depression. Service jobs were provided to unemployed and single young men throughout the U.S to help improve state and county city parks along with recreational facilities, said Luna.

The National Park Service administered the program to improve state, county and city parks and recreational facilities.  

In 1933, the CCC established a work camp in the Tucson Mountains where they built five picnic areas that included stone masonry rest rooms, ramadas, picnic tables and fire boxes, Luna said.

The picnic sites are called Sus, Mam-A-Gah, Ez-Kim-In-Zin, Cam-Boh and Signal Hill. There will be tours of the areas during the event, Luna said.

The picnic areas became part of the Saguaro National Monument in 1961.

"I think it was an exciting period in our history and it is a good thing to learn about and know about and it is similar to a lot of implications going on today including joblessness and the environment," said Philip Ben, a Ranger at Saguaro National Park and part of the event's committee.

"We've heard from a lot of families who've had members in it and talk about how they're relatives thought it was a great program," he said.

The park is hoping to gather photos and additional information about the beginnings of the Corps in Arizona. Anyone who served in the CCCs or their family members can contact Philip Brown at philip_brown@nps.gov, or call 733-5158.

"We are excited about getting the word out about this group and what they did in the 30s, we are still using a lot of the infrastructure they built and we are trying not to lose this part of history," said Ben.

The event has been designated as an Arizona Centennial Legacy Project. The legacy projects are produced by community members and by the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission.

For more information visit Saguaro National Park's website.

If you go

  • What: 3rd Annual Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Recognition Day
  • Where: Tucson Mountain District, 2700 N. Kinney Rd.
  • When: Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Schedule of speakers

  • 10 a.m.: Robert W. Audretsch, "Shaping the Park and Saving the Boys: The CCC at Grand Canyon, 1933-1942"
  • 11 a.m.: Van Fowers, "The Life of a CCC Cook"
  • Noon: Sharon E. Hunt, "The Soil Soldiers of Southern Arizona: Company 3840 at Work in St. David and Patagonia"
  • 1 p.m.: Michael I. Smith, "Not a Summer Camp for Boys"
  • 2 p.m.: Philip Brown, "The CCC in the Tucson Mountains" and Martie Maierhauser, "The Civilian Conservation Corps at Colossal Cave, Vail, AZ: The Boys at Work and Play, 1934-1937"

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