Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | August 1, 2014

Hiking A Legacy

The Triple C Trail at Hunstville State Park

In keeping with my restless nature, I packed up my gear this morning and drove to Huntsville State Park to do some solo hiking. My goal for today was to hike the Triple C and the Chinquapin Trails at the park. These two trails wind their way through one of the most beautiful forested sections of the park. I was especially excited to hike the Triple C Trail — named in honor of the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

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The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was formed in March 1933 when our nation was in the grip of the Great Depression. With more than twenty-five percent of the population unemployed, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt took decisive action to help the unemployed. The CCC was one of Roosevelt’s first New Deal programs and harnessed the strength of our nation’s youth to help conserve our natural resources.

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Operating from 1933 to 1942, the CCC engaged in conservation initiatives in national and state parks around the nation. Today, the CCC is recognized as the single greatest conservation program in our history. The conservation initiatives of the program not only developed young men through disciplined outdoor labor, they also fueled concern for our natural resources and laid the foundation for the tenets of modern conservation.

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I couldn’t help but wonder about the young men who had labored during the Great Depression in the area near the trail that I hiked today. Their boot prints are no longer visible in the East Texas soil. Their names are not recorded on any plaque. The only thing that remains are remnants of their labor along a trail through the woods — one that has given countless numbers of people across the years access to one of the most beautiful places in the Lone Star State.

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When you think about it, we are all the beneficiaries of the labor of those who came before us or those who worked to make something that we enjoy. Whether a hiking trail or a home or even the car that we drive, our lives are made better in many ways because of the labor of others.

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Today, I enjoyed some much-needed quiet time on a beautiful hiking trail in a remote section of Huntsville State Park. And, I thought about the young men who lived during the Great Depression and were a part of a program that inspired the preservation of our natural resources for the enjoyment of generations to come. May we too, labor to leave a legacy that can be enjoyed by future generations.


Responses

  1. Omar, as you say, the work done by the CCC has endured the test of time, along with similar projects done by the WPA (Works Progress Administration). There was another benefit to the two agencies – they built men, as the men built parks and roads and bridges. Harry Hopkins, the administrator of the WPA observed: “Give a man a dole and you save his body and destroy his spirit. Give him a job and you save both body and spirit”.

    That is as true today as it was then. I can’t help but think, with the aging and crumbling infrastructure of this country, that it would be a good idea to revive the CCC and the WPA, and put men to work, with an earned paycheck, instead of handing them a welfare check. Maybe we could build another “great generation” along with new roads and bridges.


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