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“We Can Take It!”

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June 30, 2010 by wcobserver

By Tim V Scott

If you were a young man between the ages of 18 to 25 in 1933 you may have been working at Devil’s Den State Park for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).   You could have been called a “CCC Boy” or even a member of Roosevelt’s Tree Army.  The CCC was working at the park from October 20, 1933 to March 25, 1942.  Much of the park as it is today was constructed by those young men during that 9½-year period.

The CCC was one of many programs under the New Deal that was created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Administration during the Great Depression.    FDR was inaugurated on March 4th, 1933 and by the first of April plans for the first CCC camp were under way.    In fact, Arkansas State Parks got its start from the CCC.  Some of the parks you may be familiar with that were CCC camps are Petit Jean State Park, Mount Nebo State Park,  Lake Catherine State Park, Crowley’s Ridge State Park, Buffalo River State Park (now a part of the National Parks system) and Devil’s Den State Park.

At Devil’s Den, like the other parks, those young men were here not only to build a park, but to help get a nation back on her feet.  Enrollees earned a dollar a day, but about 75% of the money went back home to their families.    There were several taglines used to describe the CCC and its work.  One was “Join the CCC and see the world a shovelful at a time,” but my favorite is “We can take it.”  I believe it is pretty self explanatory.

Many of the structures at Devil’s Den State Park were built over nine-and-a-half years by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). These men were often called a “CCC Boy”.

Nationwide the CCC built over 13,100 miles of trails, and they planted more than two billion trees.  At Devil’s Den they built cabins, trails, campsites and the lake and dam.  This Sunday will mark the yearly reunion of the last CCC Company at the park, #3795

The   park is very proud of its CCC heritage, and the works of the “CCC Boys.”  At the time, I am sure they did not know they were making history, but they were.  They not only had an impact on the nation’s heritage, but also on the history of Arkansas State Parks.

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