Yellowstone National Park Development – WY

City:
Yellowstone National Park, WY

Site Type:
Parks and Recreation, Forestry and Agriculture, Infrastructure and Utilities, Park Roads and Bridges, Landscaping and Tree Planting, Amphitheaters and Bandshells, Paths and Trails, Campgrounds and Cabins, Picnic and Other Facilities, Roads, Bridges, and Tunnels, Sanitation and Water Disposal, Telephone Lines, Fire Prevention Works, Fire Lookouts, Ranger Stations, Tree Planting, Pest Control

New Deal Agencies:
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Work Relief Programs, National Park Service (NPS)

Started:
1933

Completed:
1942

Quality of Information:
Very Good

Marked:
Unknown

Site Survival:
Partially Extant

Description

The Civilian Conservation Corp’s (CCC) work at Yellowstone National Park was extensive and lasted for the entirety of the CCC program, 1933-1942.  Projects included water and sewer line installation, landscaping, tree planting, the construction of fire lookouts and weather stations, firefighting and fire prevention, trail maintenance, museum assistance, snow removal, campground development, building amphitheatres, and the “Construction of buildings ranging from many of those at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch to the residences in Lower Mammoth, sheds and utility buildings throughout the park’s developed areas” (Manns, 1981).

There were six main CCC camps in Yellowstone: Mammoth Camp (YNP-1), Canyon Camp (YNP-2), Lake Camp (YNP-3), West Gallatin Camp (YNP-4), Nez Perce Camp (YNP-5), and Snake River Camp (YNP-6).  There were also side camps (or “spike camps”), which were units temporarily broken off from the main camps in order to do work at different locations.

The CCC’s work helped modernize Yellowstone, and both attracted and accommodated a much greater number of visitors to the park.  But as America’s involvement in World War II deepened, the park lost much of its labor force.  A late 1941 newspaper headline read, “Recruits Needed,” and reported, “Yellowstone National park C.C.C. camps are still on the lookout for recruits.  Camp officials ask that any unmarried man between 17 and 23 ½ years of age who is out of work report to the park authorities at Mammoth or the nearest C.C.C. camp” (The Independent-Record).

Unfortunately for the park, CCC enrollment continued to decline until the program ended in June 1942.  Interestingly, Yellowstone National Park had a $1 billion maintenance backlog at the end of 2022.

Source notes

Civilian Conservation Corps, Pocatello Chieftain Annual, Pocatello District, 1936, Graves & Potter, Inc. (publishers).

Perry H. Merrill, Roosevelt’s Forest Army: A History of the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942, Montpelier, VT, 1981.

Timothy R. Manns (Yellowstone Park Historian), The Civilian Conservation Corps in Yellowstone National Park, 1933-1942, National Park Service, 1981 (accessed January 18, 2024).

Yellowstone National Park Infrastructure Fact Sheet,” National Park Service, Fiscal Year 2022 (accessed January 19, 2024).

Matthew A. Redinger, The Civilian Conservation Corps as a Tool of the National Park Service: The Development of Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, 1933-1942, Master’s Thesis, University of Montana, 1988 (accessed January 18, 2024).

Yellowstone National Park Research Library and Archives Collections, 1840-1965,” Archives West, Orbis Cascade Alliance (accessed January 18, 2024).

CCC Camps Wyoming,” CCC Legacy (accessed January 18, 2024).

“No Military Rule In C.C.C. Camps; Boys’ Health Better,” Great Falls Tribune (Great Falls, Montana), September 3, 1933, p. 5.

“Hiking And Riding Trails Are Widely In Use In Parks,” The Independent-Record (Helena, Montana), November 20, 1939, p. 2.

“Recruits Needed,” The Independent-Record (Helena, Montana), October 7, 1941, p. 6.

Location Info


Yellowstone National Park, WY

Location notes: Park headquarters, north entrance

Coordinates: 44.97491, -110.69768

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6 comments on “Yellowstone National Park Development – WY

  1. Laurie Morrissey

    My grandfather, who died in April 2002, was one of the Civil Conservation Corps workers who helped build Yellowstone National Park. I have a large group photo of the men. I plan on visiting Yellowstone in early August and will scan a copy of the photo and will give it to the press contact there at the park. If you’re interested, I can send your organization an electronic version of the photo, too, if you’re interested.

  2. Anne Foster

    “The CCC built the majority of the early visitor centers, campgrounds and the current system of park roads.” This is actually not true. The CCC built no permanent buildings in Yellowstone although they did assist with some construction projects such as walls, docks, and their own camps. The road system was designed and constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers beginning in the 1890s and largely completed by the 1910s. The CCCs assisted with road repairs and maintenance. See the Annual Reports of the Superintendents online here: https://archive.org/search.php?query=collection%3Aclemson%20Yellowstone%20annual

  3. John Mckenrick Sr

    My Father in Law George Henry worked C C C in the 1930s. How can I get information?

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Contribute to this Site

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6 comments on “Yellowstone National Park Development – WY

  1. Laurie Morrissey

    My grandfather, who died in April 2002, was one of the Civil Conservation Corps workers who helped build Yellowstone National Park. I have a large group photo of the men. I plan on visiting Yellowstone in early August and will scan a copy of the photo and will give it to the press contact there at the park. If you’re interested, I can send your organization an electronic version of the photo, too, if you’re interested.

  2. Anne Foster

    “The CCC built the majority of the early visitor centers, campgrounds and the current system of park roads.” This is actually not true. The CCC built no permanent buildings in Yellowstone although they did assist with some construction projects such as walls, docks, and their own camps. The road system was designed and constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers beginning in the 1890s and largely completed by the 1910s. The CCCs assisted with road repairs and maintenance. See the Annual Reports of the Superintendents online here: https://archive.org/search.php?query=collection%3Aclemson%20Yellowstone%20annual

  3. John Mckenrick Sr

    My Father in Law George Henry worked C C C in the 1930s. How can I get information?

Join the Conversation

Please note:

  • We are not involved in the management of New Deal sites and have no information about visits, hours or rentals.
  • This page shows all the information we have for this site; if you have new information or photos to share, click the button above.

Your email address will not be published, shared, or sold.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.