Much has been said about the 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park, but seldom do you hear about the work of the boys of the Civilian Conservation Corps to beautify the park for visitors to enjoy.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the CCC, intended to provide work for unemployed young men, which became one of the most popular and successful efforts of the New Deal.

Besides putting millions to work, the CCC achieved many positive accomplishments in restoring and conserving the country’s natural resources through projects that included reforestation; the construction of dams, roads, trails, bridges and buildings, and the prevention of forest fires, soil erosion and floods and the spread of diseases and pests.

In 1934, a CCC camp was established in Bar Harbor, one of 28 such camps in Maine. Some 200 boys were required to beautify Acadia National Park. Their pay was $30 per month, with $25 of that sent home to their parents.

The Eagle Lake Camp was supervised by the National Park Service, where much of their work involved fire hazard reduction, landscaping, trail construction, pruning and general cleanup of the park.

Another camp, the Great Pond Camp at Southwest Harbor, ran from May 1933 to September 1941. The boys created many scenic trails throughout the park and developed recreational facilities at its beaches and lakes, continued pine blister control, built roads, did landscaping and dug drainage ditches. They also had opportunity to learn about other trades, such as automotive repair, science, bookkeeping, photography and radio.

In 1942, all the CCC camps were closed as the money was redirected to help with the war effort.

I served at the Camden Hills Camp from October 1940 to 1941 and transferred to the Bar Harbor Camp, serving until it closed in 1942.

John McLeod