Bulletin Staff Report
Surviving Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers are being sought by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for a tribute to be held March 28-29 at Bastrop State Park.
“We really need to find these guys and honor them,” Janelle Taylor, event coordinator, said in the report published in “The Texas Explorer,” the newsletter of the Texas Travel Industry Association. “This is likely the last big event to do because we are losing them at a much more rapid pace than ever before.”
One of the CCC’s major projects in Texas was the park now known as Lake Brownwood State Park.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, and into the early 1940s, the skills of members of the CCC were instrumental in building the structures that have formed the backbone of the Texas State Park System. As the 75th anniversary of the 1933 creation of the CCC approaches, those members who are still alive are in their 80s and 90s.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department plans to honor living CCC veterans in March during a celebration of the CCC’s creation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order to put Depression-era young people back to work in the outdoors planting forests, building parks and performing other public works tasks.
The Texas Parks and WIldlife Department asked other tourism industry professionals to help make certain that surviving CCC veterans are aware of the ceremony so they can make plans to attend.
Almost 100 former CCC workers attended a celebration at Bastrop State Park in 2003. Fewer than that showed up for a CCC reunion at Caddo Lake State Park in northeast Texas in 2004, “The Texas Explorer” reported.
“We need the public’s help,” Taylor said. “This group is so humble that unless someone tells them they need to contact me, they probably won’t call.”
Taylor can be reached at (512) 389-4665. Veterans whose names are placed on her list will receive a special invitation to the celebration. Bastrop State Park is one of six state parks built by the CCC to be designated as a National Historic Landmark.
A total of 31 Texas state parks operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department bear the distinct mark of young CCC laborers who erected permanent structures reflecting the National Park Service’s trademark rustic style. By 1935, 27 CCC companies were working in Texas state parks building roads, bridges, swimming pools, dams and hundreds of sturdy rock-and-timber structures. Prime examples of their skills remain in use, the Explorer said, at the parks at Lake Brownwood and Lake Bastrop.
During previous CCC reunions, Taylor and others have been collecting oral histories that document the achievements of CCC members.