CCC To Be Remembered at Grand Canyon National Park

CCC crews get ready to go to work at the Grand Canyon in 1934. NPS photo.

It was 75 years ago that the first Civilian Conservation Corps teams arrived at Grand Canyon National Park. To mark that anniversary, the park is holding a symposium recalling the CCC's efforts in the Southwest.

At the Grand Canyon the CCC crews, who began arriving in the park on May 29, 1933, built many of today's trails and more than a few structures. In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the CCC and to commemorate the important contribution of these young men to the Grand Canyon, the National Park Service at Grand Canyon National Park will be hosting a symposium, titled “Saving Lives; Shaping the Land; Building Parks: the CCC in the Southwest, 1933-1942.”

The symposium will be held from May 30 through June 1, 2008. Registration for the full three days is $50. All of the indoor sessions will be held at the Shrine of the Ages auditorium, located in Grand Canyon Village – next to park headquarters. The symposium will begin with guided hikes and tours on Friday, May 30. On Saturday, May 31, there will be presentations by 15 historians and scholars, as well as a panel of men who served in the CCC. And on Sunday, June 1, the symposium will conclude with guided hikes and walks.

Registration for the symposium can be done on-line at this site or “at the door” at the Shrine of the Ages on Friday or Saturday.

Along with hosting the symposium, the Grand Canyon Association and the NPS willopen an exhibit titled “It Saved My Life, the CCC at Grand Canyon, 1933-1942.” The exhibit’s grand opening is open to the public and will be at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 30, at the Kolb Studio. Exhibit goers will learn about the despair of the Great Depression, the fear of a possible ‘lost generation’ of young men, and the feeling of hope that the CCC brought to poor unemployed young men and their families. Historic photographs and artifacts, never before viewed by the public, will be on display. Attendees will learn about the many things the CCC accomplished at Grand Canyon and the positive changes the program brought to the CCC men and their families. This free exhibit will be available at the historic Kolb Studio from May 31 through October 19.

Some have called the 1930s the ‘golden years’ of the National Park Service in large part due to the almost unlimited labor pool provided by the CCC. Grand Canyon National Park had as many as four 200-man companies working simultaneously. The most significant CCC accomplishments at Grand Canyon include trail building, the South Rim Community Building, the beautiful stone wall in the Village, the trans-canyon telephone line, and trail shelters.

For more information and questions about the symposium and planned events, please contact Bob Audretsch, Park Naturalist, at or at 928-638-7834.