General Improvements – Yosemite National Park CA


The New Deal vastly improved Yosemite National Park in California, which has long been the showpiece of the national park system.  Several federal agencies operated in the park from 1933 to 1942, under the general supervision of the National Park Service: the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Public Works Administration (PWA), and Bureau of Public Roads (BPR), plus the short-lived Civil Works Administration (CWA)  (December 1933 to April 1934).

Major works around Yosemite are detailed in the various site pages listed on the right. Nevertheless, some of the immense amount of work done during the New Deal cannot be pinpointed, so we include it here under “general improvements”.

The CCC did an enormous amount of landscaping around buildings and campgrounds; tree planting and forest debris removal; disease eradication efforts (removing diseased trees and carrier shrubs, spraying pesticides); flood and erosion control work on the river and creeks in Yosemite Valley, plus post-flood cleanup; and fire fighting (much of it outside park boundaries).  

Bureau of Public Roads crews (hired from private contractors) all but completed today’s highway system in the park, including tunnels, bridges, stone work, and retaining walls.

The PWA paid for most of the BPR’s road work, as well as water and sewer systems and some buildings, such as the large utility building in the valley.

In their brief period of activity, CWA relief workers carried out “erosion control; removed snags and stumps; undertook minor building improvements (such as varnishing, landscaping, rock work, and structural repairs); and repaired and maintained vehicles as well as machinery. CWA employees labored on roads and trails; water, sewer, and electrical systems; light road construction; and myriad other duties. They built hundreds of campground tables. They painted the interior of the museum.” (Broesamle ms)



Source notes

John Broesamle book manuscript, 2022.

Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on August 29, 2010.
Additional contributions by Andrew Laverdiere.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Yosemite National Park, CA 94553

Location notes: Pin drop arbitrary -- mid-park

Coordinates: 37.810633, -119.5819

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