Shenandoah National Park will be hosting the 78th Annual Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Alumni Reunion on September 24, 2011. The public is invited to meet with Alumni and hear first hand about their experiences. Alumni reunion events will take place at the Big Meadows Lodge Massanutten Room beginning at 9:00 a.m.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was established in 1933 as a work relief program, putting young men to work in Federal and State lands during the Great Depression. CCC camps were first established at Skyland (NP-1) and Big Meadows (NP-2) in May 1933, and from 1933-1942 the park supervised the work of eleven CCC camps. The Skyland and Big Meadows Camps were the first in the National Park Service and were visited by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in August 1933. During the course of the New Deal program over 1,200 "boys" a year worked to build facilities and create the landscape of the park. The park we see today would not exist without the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
During the reunion, visitors are encouraged to explore the newly installed exhibit in Big Meadows marking the site of NP-2, the second CCC Camp established in Shenandoah. Recent archeology revealed the locations of the buildings. The "company streets" have been mowed while the "buildings" have been allowed to grow up, giving visitors a visual representation of the buildings. This spring interpretive panels with historic photos were added at each building site.
Visitors wishing to learn more about the CCC should stop by the Byrd Visitor Center and explore the highly interactive exhibit, "Within a Day's Drive of Millions." This exhibit tells the story of Shenandoah's establishment and development including the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Visitors can also view a free film entitled, The CCC Boys.
Entrance fees to Shenandoah National Park will be waived on September 24 in celebration of National Public Lands Day.