Friday, September 4, 2015

New Deal Postage Stamps: National Parks

Above: Many people are responsible for the creation, development, and protection of our national parks, for example, John Muir, Stephen Mather, Horace Albright, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Horace Kephart, George Masa, George Melendez Wright, and many, many more. However, the New Deal invested in our national parks like never before or since (considering money plus labor). For example, after years of collecting funds to create Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the people of North Carolina and Tennessee were rocked by the Great Depression, and couldn't contribute any more. So, newly-elected President Franklin Roosevelt, "Inspired by all the pennies and nickels that had been collected from everyday people...decided to intervene. To make up the shortfall, the president allocated 1.5 million dollars in scarce federal funds to complete the land purchases - the first time in history the United States government had spent its own money to buy land for a National Park" (Ken Burns film, "National Parks: America's Best Idea," 2009). In addition to money, CCC labor helped develop the park: " many as 4,000 enrollees were assigned to 22 CCC camps at various times from 1933-1942, building roads, trails, fire towers, and structures. The legacy of the CCC is enormous, and the work of these young men remains clearly evident today" ("History & Culture," National Park Service). Today, Great Smoky Mountain Park is the most visited national park. Image from personal collection.

Above: According to the National Park Service, "During the nine years the CCC was stationed at Acadia [National Park], they completed hundreds of projects. The majority of these were in forestry, such as fire fighting, fuel reduction, and disease control. The 'boys' also performed most of the work in constructing the park’s two campgrounds, Blackwoods and Seawall. Their most enduring and endearing successes, though, are the stunning and unusual trails that lead hikers into the heart of Acadia, such as the Ocean Path and Perpendicular Trail. Granite blocks weighing more than a ton were carefully cut and laid by hand. Thousands of dead or downed trees were cleared. The work was hard, but fulfilling, and through their efforts, the CCC opened, protected, and beautified Acadia National Park" ("Civilian Conservation Corps," National Park Service). Image from personal collection.

Above: The National Park Service reports that "From October 1933- June 1934 Civilian Conservation Corps Company 262 completed trail work, planted trees, constructed telephone lines, repaired storm damaged structures, and completed other tasks for Royal Palm State Park" ("People," National Park Service). "Royal Palm State Park was established in 1916 and later became the nucleus for Everglades National Park" ("Royal Palm," National Park Service). Image from personal collection.

Above: "At Grand Canyon the CCC built roads, trails, walls, shelters and much of the infrastructure that still is in use today" ("Grand Canyon Civilian Conservation Corps," National Park Service). Image from personal collection.

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