Road builders, tree planters in the 1930s

January 9, 2019

Trail-building work underway in Delaware’s Cape Region brings forth memories of work done in the United States during the 1930s by enlistees in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). There were camps of workers in Lewes, Milford and Wyoming, and they went to work building roads in forests where tree planting was needed to restore denuded land, fixing erosion problems, and digging ditches in marshes to help combat mosquito problems. A great deal of work was done in Sussex County in Redden State Forest. The workers also provided recreational opportunities through construction of trails and pavilion facilities. This photograph shows a crew of workers, operating out of the Wyoming office south of Dover, preparing for a day’s work.

“Some of the specific accomplishments of the Corps,” according to a Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy article on the internet, “included 3,470 fire towers erected, 97,000 miles of fire roads built, 4,235,000 man-days devoted to fighting fires, and more than three billion trees planted. Five hundred camps were under the direction of the Soil Conservation Service, performing erosion control. Erosion was ultimately arrested on more than twenty million acres. The CCC made outstanding contributions in the development of recreational facilities in national, state, county and metropolitan parks.”

The CCC camp in Lewes was located along Savannah Road where the Huling Cove senior living housing complex now stands.