Thursday, December 27, 2012


I grew up in northern California.  Within driving distance of my house were at least 2 State Parks.  Actually, one of them, Samuel P. Taylor State Park, was within biking distance if you and your brother were in the mood and driving distance if you were ditching church.   Mt. Tamalpais State Park was even closer, as the crow flies, but much harder to bike to, as it was a horrid climb on very narrow roads.  This was before the advent of bike paths.

There were redwoods in these parks and camping facilities and outside amphitheaters and hiking trails with rails and graded steps out of stone.  I loved these parks.  When I was a teenager, I was convinced that God was in those parks.  Now I know He is within me, but I was not so sure back then and I felt closer to Him there.

It never occurred to me wonder about the infrastructure of the parks.  I learned later that almost all of the construction done in those parks; the ranger stations, the benches in the amphitheaters, the amphitheaters themselves,  the outdoor showers, the concession stands, the trails, the bridges, the trail markers, was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

One of our area museums, where Julie and I went with the boy to escape the crowds of Christmas consumerism, currently has an exhibit about the CCC.  This exhibit includes lots of memorabilia, including schedules, booklets, clothes and such and a life size model of one of the two man wood floor tents that the guys lived in.  On the wall were numerous pictures of local CCC projects.  I was astounded to learn that there once was a Hereford State Park.  Our golf course pro shop used to be the boat house (we have no lake now) and the local VFW was the concession stand at the park.  As soon as I read this, I recognized the architecture and use of local building materials.

 I love this Country, for taking a desperate time and situation, and making something so life-affirming and lasting.  Unfortunately, a lot of these buildings and bridges are falling into disrepair.  Maybe it's time for Congress to take another look at a program that actually worked.

1 comment:

Pamela said...

I know that there was some that felt dehumanized by it at the time ( I remember listening to my dad) . . . But I am with you. I appreciate the results. I've noted other parks and recreation areas with similar origins in our area.

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