Harrisburg, PA -- Today, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn joined officials from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) for a dedication ceremony highlighting a new historical marker that honors the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) work to develop the Laurel Highlands.
The new marker is at the entrance to Laurel Hill State Park, where CCC members at Camps PA S.P.-8 and PA S.P.-15 began construction on the Laurel Hill Recreational Demonstration Area 86 years ago on July 1.
The Laurel Highlands project was critical because the area had been devastated by deforestation, coal mining and poor forestry, and agricultural practices that depleted the soil and landscape.
“I am pleased to honor the historic contributions of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Laurel Highlands,” Dunn said. “We would not have Laurel Hill State Park and other key recreational areas across Pennsylvania without the work of the CCC and the transformative policy to help recover form the Great Depression. This park and the legacy of the CCC are a testament to what is possible when we fund projects that prioritize the environment and recreational opportunities."
Laurel Hill Recreational Demonstration Area was completed in 1941. It later became Laurel Hill State Park 1945.
The CCC’s work still resonates at the 4,062-acre park, which includes the beautiful 63-acre Laurel Hill Lake.
The Laurel Hill Marker also describes the impact of the CCC in Pennsylvania. Nearly 195,000 men were enrolled at 114 CCC camps across the commonwealth.
Those corps members planted billions of trees, cleaned up waterways, fought fires, built roads and bridges, and so much more -- all of which transformed the forests and recreational areas in Pennsylvania.
“The Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program is probably the most visible of Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission’s programs,” said PHMC Executive Director Andrea Lowery. “The Laurel Hill State Park marker joins over 2,500 familiar blue and gold markers that capture the memory of people, places, events, and innovations that have affected the lives of Pennsylvanians over the centuries since William Penn founded his Commonwealth.”
The marker notes that corps members locally accomplished the “monumental feat” of developing Laurel Hill from young men who had nothing but built so much.
The CCC was established in 1933 to help offer opportunities to young men after the Great Depression and one of the worst economic downturns in our nation’s history.
Nationally, nearly 3 million youths were employed by the CCC until the program ended in 1942. Its economic, social, and environmental impact were instrumental in the U.S. rebounding from the Great Depression.
Other recreational demonstration areas in Pennsylvania included Blue Knob, Hickory Run, French Creek, and Raccoon Hill.
All are now state parks thanks to the development from the CCC.
Learn more about the CCC from DCNR website.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315
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