During the darkest days of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The mission—put young men to work saving America’s natural heritage.
In South Carolina, the CCC created 16 state parks that preserve some of the state’s most beautiful places. This work provided access to thousands of acres of public land to all South Carolinians. It also gave jobs to the unemployed and helped many families survive hard times.
Though the work of the CCC occurred more than 80 years ago, an important legacy remains. The park planners of the 1930s wanted to create opportunities for all people, rich or poor, to get closer to nature. They believed that outdoor recreation could help cure many of society’s ills, and that nature could inspire, educate and even give meaning to life. Countless South Carolinians have benefited from the CCC’s idealistic vision.
Many of the men who built our state parks remember their CCC days fondly. A typical CCC camp was made up of 200 young men, aged 18-25 years, who lived in army-style barracks and worked on surrounding park lands.
A museum dedicated to the legacy of the CCC is located at Lake Greenwood State Park. Additionally, one of the finest examples of CCC craftsmanship in the state park system can be found at the newly restored Table Rock Lodge.