The world was without hope for many of Colorado’s young men in 1933. Youth unemployment was 25 percent and another 29 percent were working only part-time. Many quit school before graduation to work odd jobs to support their families. Others took to hitching rides on railroad cars desperate for a new opportunity. Even young men who finished their schooling were without work as they had no job experience or training. Then, in 1933, with the beginning of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) young men could go to work in Colorado’s national parks, state parks, national forests and other public lands. They no longer worried where their next meal would come from. Now they could learn new job skills. In Colorado CCC boys planted trees, erected fences and telephone lines and put out forest fires. Today we still use the roads and trails they built. CCC work was made to last. At the program’s end in 1942 over 30,000 Colorado men served at over one hundred twenty camps. And work was completed in nearly every county in the state.
Robert W. “Bob” Audretsch retired as a National Park Service ranger at Grand Canyon in 2009 after nearly 20 years of service. Since then, he has devoted himself full time to research and writing about the Civilian Conservations Corps (CCC). Bob grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and attended Wayne State University where he received a BA in history and a MS in library science. Prior to his work as a ranger, he was a librarian in Michigan, Ohio, and Colorado. Bob has a lifelong interest in history, nature, books, and art and has written numerous publications in the ﬁelds of library science, sports, and history. Bob is the author of Grand Canyon’s Phantom Ranch (Arcadia Publishing, 2012), Shaping the Park and Saving the Boys: The Civilian Conservation Corps at Grand Canyon, 1933–1942 (Dog Ear Publishing, 2011), We Still Walk in Their Footprint: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Northern Arizona, 1933-1942 (Dog Ear Publishing, 2013), Selected Grand Canyon Area Hiking Routes, Including the Little Colorado River and Great Thumb (Dog Ear Publishing, June, 2014) and, with Sharon Hunt, The Civilian Conservation Corps in Arizona (Images of America) (Arcadia Publishing). He resides in Lakewood, Colorado.