The first order of business by Franklin D. Roosevelt after being sworn in as president on March 4, 1933, was to tackle the banking crisis.
The second was to establish the Civilian Conservation Corps.
It took less than a month to get legislation through Congress, recounts Robert W. Audretsch, who has spent the last five years researching the CCC in northern Arizona.
His first book, "Shaping the Park and Saving the Boys," described the work of the CCC in Grand Canyon National Park, from building trails to erecting a swimming pool at Phantom Ranch.
Now he is out with his second book, "We Still Walk in Their Footprint," describing projects that include Snowbowl Road, the original Hart Prairie Lodge (since burned), and planting a million pine seedlings at Little Leroux Springs.
The corps set up camps throughout the region, including at Wupatki, Walnut Canyon and Sunset Crater, where they built trails. They camped at Schultz Creek and helped to blaze a road to Schultz Pass, then built a road to the Inner Basin and Abineau Springs. They even spent time eradicating prairie dogs and gathering ticks for a U.S. Public Health Service study of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. When hikers got lost, they found them; when fires broke out, they fought them.
By the end of the 1930s, the footprint of the CCC on the Flagstaff region was so extensive and positive that Robert Fechner, national CCC director, viewed it as a possible permanent organization.
It is "far too valuable an institution to let lapse," he is quoted in a camp newspaper. "Not only has it saved millions of dollars worth of timber, but it has restored the faith of hundreds of thousands of boys in themselves."
Audretsch is a retired Grand Canyon ranger who said he was inspired to learn more about the CCC in the region by a talk at the national park back in 2001. His future projects include books about the CCC in Arizona and Colorado. He holds degrees in history and library science from Wayne State University and lives in Flagstaff.
If you go...
Civilian Conservation Corps Recognition Day, Saturday, April 6, 3:30- 5:30 p.m., Flagstaff-Coconino Public Library, 300 W. Aspen Ave., Flagstaff. Recognizing the work of the CCC from 1933 to 1942 in Arizona and throughout the USA. Slide shows by Robert W. Audretsch "We Still Walk in Their Footprint: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Northern Arizona, 1933-1942" and Sharon E. Hunt "The Boys Tell Their Stories: The Camp Newspapers of the CCC Enrollees." Audretsch will be autographing his new book on the CCC in northern Arizona. Artifacts, documents and books available for viewing. More info: 928-714-0499 or email@example.com