Our Adventure in Conservation: The CCC

I

THE idea of using the youth of this country in worth-while conservation work must be credited to Professor William James, who in 1910 wrote an essay on the ‘Moral Equivalents of War.’ He expressed the thought that it was ‘but a question of time and of opinion-making men seizing historic opportunities’ until the nation’s youth would be organized to form for a few of their young years a part of an army enrolled against nature. He believed that there would be thus preserved for a peace economy the moral equivalents for the martial ideals and virtues of unity, surrender of private interest, loyalty, discipline, and hardihood, and that numerous other benefits to the country would follow. To various and sundry hardy tasks, in forests and fields, on roads and in mines, on ships, would our gilded youths be drafted off according to their choice, to get the childishness knocked out of them, and to come back into society with healthier sympathies and sobered ideas. They would have paid their blood-tax, done their own part in the immemorial human warfare against nature, they would tread the earth more proudly, the women would value them more highly, they would be better fathers and teachers of the following generations.

George H. Maxwell’s book, Our National Defensethe Patriotism of Peace, published in 1915, expanded that idea into a definite and practical form. He urged the ‘National Construction Corps’ to build bridges and aqueducts, to bring water to the deserts and make them productive, to plant trees on bare mountains, to fight forest fires and insect pests — all in the interest of making the country more self-supporting as a measure of national defense.

About the time that Professor James’s essay was published in America, a movement for youth camps appeared in Germany, sponsored by a group of Heidelberg professors, but their efforts ended in an unsuccessful petition to Kaiser Wilhelm.

It was in Bulgaria, however, shortly after the World War, that the need for road repairs led to the starting of a sixmonths compulsory labor service for persons between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, including both men and women. Switzerland, in 1924, launched the idea of her Freiwilliger Arbeitsdienst, or Voluntary Labor Service for unemployed youth. Germany in 1925 actually started her first work camp for youth, at Breslau in Upper Silesia, under the direction of Professor Eugene Rosenstock.

It was the world-wide depression which turned more than one nation to this use of unemployed young men. In some European nations there were added other purposes and aims. Germany’s youth camps, though now strongly political, were not originally so; Bulgaria’s were based on political economy; while those of the Swiss were measures of necessity and of assistance. Fundamentally, the two outstanding purposes were, first to give to young men work which would save them from lives of idleness and possible crime, and secondly to use them on worth-while outdoor construction work which would build them up physically, mentally, and spiritually. These two basic purposes were present in the first systematic attempts at youth labor or work camps in Austria, Switzerland, France, England, and the United States. Regardless of the pattern of government, whether liberal or conservative, whether democratic or dictatorial, regardless of political outlooks, here was a principle generally recognized, that the youth of a nation — if it were to survive — must save itself by healthful work in the out-of-doors.

Usually European youth camps are under the ministry of labor. In some countries farm work is emphasized, in others forestry or broad conservation work. In Bulgaria, Germany, and England, youth camps have been used to supplement farm labor, especially at harvest time. In Switzerland, France, and Austria, the work has been largely confined to forests. In some European countries youth camps have been what we Americans would call militarized, or at least highly regimented; this is notably true of the German Arbeitsdienst, where the youths march out to their work projects, move in strict military formation from job to job, carry their shovels in soldier style, and live in camps strongly reminiscent of army barracks. By contrast, — and it is a striking contrast, — youth work camps in Switzerland, England, France, Austria, and America have no semblance of militarization and little regimentation. Swiss youth receives no wages; its work is freiwilliger, voluntary.

I had the privilege, while in Europe in 1936, of seeing some of the German and Austrian youth camps, or Arbeitsdienst. I was particularly impressed with the simplicity and efficiency of the Austrian camps. We found the boys working on the Vienna City Forest, far back in the mountains, in small-unit, simple camps, with little or no machinery or trucks, doing hand-labor jobs within walking distance of their camps; doing jobs which our own CCC are doing — cleaning out and building foot trails, clearing roadside drainage ditches, building small fish hatcheries, controlling forest insect pests, planting young tree seedlings where needed to complete the forest cover on steep mountain sides; husky young boys, cheerful, busy, learning how to use shovel and axe and mattock, how to build up and restore the forest wealth of their country, and how to build up their own bodies and spirits.

In France and England, though there is a large percentage of young men in the work camps, there are also quite a number of older men — war veterans, local farmers and farm workers, forest workers. The French relief workers are used almost entirely on forest work, — roads and trails, control of insect pests, tree diseases, forest planting, — while the English do considerable park and public playground development and improvement work, as well as assisting farm owners with extra labor, during harvest or planting times.

II

Trees and young men have been growing up simultaneously in this nation for countless generations. Trees struggled to sink their roots firmly into the earth in order to push their tops into the air and spread their limbs over the ground, to bear their fruit, scatter their seed, and to give their seedlings a protected start in life.

The white man came and in his struggle for security turned against the red men and the trees. The forest and the Indian were pushed back, by burning, by killing — by any and all means. A continent had to be conquered. At first, the forest was an obstacle, hiding red enemy or wild animal. With increasing colonization, settlements, towns, and cities sprang up, and forests began to have value as shelter for home and business. In the name of economics and civilization there was ruthless exploitation of the nation’s forest wealth. The pioneer logger and lumberman appeared. The Eastern seaboard was conquered, the Alleghenies invaded, and the march started westward. Lumbering began to be systematized. The unexcelled virgin forests of Maine, the Adirondacks, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, then the Lake States, contributed their giants. The sweep extended down through the Appalachians into the vast pineries of the South, then into her hardwoods. The great untouched forests of the Rocky Mountains, of Montana, Idaho, and the Pacific Coast, beckoned, and the lumberman went West. Soon there was no farther West to go to.

Franklin B. Hough, who was the first government forester, from 1876 to 1883, struck a note of warning that we must protect and manage our forests. B. E. Fernow, a German-trained forester, later headed federal efforts and labored long for American forestry, organized a forestry school, and succeeded in starting, during President Harrison’s administration, a monumental system of forest reserves — now the National Forests.

To the vision of Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot is due the first practical effort to salvage some of the country’s wasted wealth and to conserve through wise use what was left. They gave general currency to this philosophy of wise use by designating it as ‘Conservation.’ The opposition of the Congress of that day was widespread — an opposition now a historical fact.

Against bitter opposition founded on greed and a too rugged individualism they laid the broad foundation of the present National Forests and a national conservation system.

Senator Francis G. Newlands’s farreaching waters and soils conservation bill of December 4, 1907, — conceived with statesmanlike vision, — was shelved for ten years. Then, in 1917, it was finally included as a section of a Rivers and Harbors Act. But the war diverted public attention, and in 1920 old private greed struck out Newdands’s long-foughtfor waterways provision from this Rivers and Harbors Act. That left us about where we were in 1907. Sixteen years went by before the Flood Control Act of 1936 was finally passed — and in the meantime millions of acres of topsoil continued to wash down our rivers, and millions of feet of timber continued to be turned into ashes and charred snags.

It is trite to say, in the light of our present broad knowledge of devastated lands, that soils which were unfit for farming were laid bare by loggers and fires. To-day we face the task of restoring trees to thousands and thousands of acres of such soil, now classed as ‘submarginal agricultural land.’ It should forever have remained in forest growths.

But this ever-hurrying stride of ‘modern progress’ had brought both young men and trees to a stage perilous to the nation’s welfare, long before the facts were recognized generally. As forest wealth receded, the welfare of man and the nation’s wealth seemed to advance. The pace was furious, but it continued to increase. After a short life, the rush of exploitation bogged down, following completion of the great transcontinental railroads, and there was time for stocktaking.

The conservation job started by Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot had been long waiting to be shoved ahead — too long; it was overdue. Waste of natural resources to satisfy private greed had been going on until it became a national trait. Foresters, conservationists, biologists, soil experts, park executives, all had dreamed of a time when men and money would be available to undertake nationally the salvage job. They had not only dreamed of it, but had planned for it: better protection for forest wealth, saving it from fire, insects, and disease; development and improvement of this wealth; development of outdoor recreation on federal, state, and municipal lands; preservation of wild life; prevention of soil wastage, long a national disgrace. Here, as elsewhere, we had studied, experimented, tested, measured, — and watched, — the rapid washing away of our topsoils, but had done little or nothing in the direction of practical salvage.

The World War boomed machine production and took further toll of forests and soils. ‘Spruce and wheat will win the war’ was the motto then. Americans worked willingly and heedlessly further to exploit a sickening land. Man’s carelessness and a parsimonious attitude toward spending to protect and develop natural resources contributed to tremendous losses by forest fire. Thousands and thousands of square miles of horribly mutilated and barren forest lands with remnant ghost towns are to-day’s witnesses to man’s ruthlessness in every corner of the land where forest wealth predominated up to the middle of the nineteenth century.

Early in the twentieth century new opportunities and opportunity seekers reached a balance. Men found it more difficult to get jobs. There were still opportunities, but they were harder to find and they required craft and professional skill in larger degree. The nation was on the verge of a period of economic doldrums when the World War intervened, to supply first materials and later men — young men. Although this country’s loss in lives of young men was small compared to European losses, it was prodigious and we felt its effects as a nation. After the World War, we were a creditor nation for the first time in our history, and for a while made the most of it, pushing machine production to its peak during the first ten years of Kaiser Wilhelm’s exile at Doom.

III

The year 1929 was a banner one in the annals of the United States. The Aladdin’s lamp of economics was kept bright and worn thin from overmuch rubbing. The Aladdins were as heedless of the consequences of too much rubbing as men in earlier days had been heedless of results from devastating the forests. Perhaps in both cases some knew but did not or dared not speak. There were many who did but went unheard. The country plunged into economic disaster.

From 1930 to 1932 jobs grew scarcer and scarcer as the extent of our national crash became daily more apparent. Old and young, men and women, boys and girls, were laid off indiscriminately everywhere. Businesses failed, production stopped, banks closed, savings were exhausted, mortgages on homes and farms were foreclosed. Cattle, sheep, pigs, corn, wheat, lumber, nails, rails, houses, land, furniture, clothing, food — all were sacrificed to the maw of universal indebtedness. Paper profits vanished along with material gains and savings. Some people prospered, but to most it was an appalling and costly disaster. As a nation of people, we had ‘lost our shirt.’ Millions were without work; somewhere between ten and fifteen million employed persons — the figures of experts vary — were no longer gainfully occupied. Bread lines were democratic. Men — and women too — from all walks of life stood in them, hour after hour, day after day, month upon month. It was heartbreaking to those who stood in the lines and to those who stood on the side lines.

However heavily the depression may have descended on the adult population of this country, the load was even greater on youth. Here was the most valuable resource we had, youth, being wasted; worse than wasted — sacrificed. As far back as 1925, it was estimated that there were from five to eight million young people between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five wholly unoccupied. They were neither working nor at school. After the crash almost three million young people were on relief. One could see freight trains loaded with men and boys, occasionally women among them, going somewhere, anywhere. Railroad brakemen simply ignored the swarms. Far too many of this new vagrant army were in their teens. Jungle campfires reflected the despair on beardless faces the country over. Some states made feeble attempts to keep out these hordes by shoving them across state lines, but everywhere flophouses, rescue missions, soup kitchens, bread lines, and jails were filled with youth for the first time.

Many a lad, realizing the load which his parents were carrying and eager, yet powerless, to help, set out to find a job. Disillusionment soon followed. There were no jobs even for skilled, more experienced workmen, and, as the boys joined the wandering hordes, there loomed before them the blackness and hopelessness, the utter futility of further seeking. What was there left? Begging, panhandling, petty thieving, first of food and then of covering, finding some way to keep body and soul together, to get by — ending, in too many cases, with the final philosophy that the world owed them a living. The world had turned against these lads; many fought back, many gave up, went down. A part of the story is written in the youthful crime records of this country between 1924 and 1934.

IV

Times were bad in 1931 and 1932. They had never been worse. Hope was succumbing to fear. The problems of unemployed youth had become even more acute. And then came another conservation-minded Roosevelt, who had also been a practising forester for many years on his Hudson River estate.

Keenly alive to the pressing social as well as economic problems of the country, Franklin Roosevelt sounded a new and practical note in his acceptance-ofthe-nomination speech at Chicago in July 1932. At that time he said in part:

Let us use common and business sense. . . . We know that . . . means of relief, both for the unemployed and for agriculture, will come from a wide plan for the converting of many million acres of marginal and unused land into timber land through reforestation. . . .

In doing so, employment can be given to a million men. . . .

There is every reason to believe that the presidential candidate was familiar with and interested in the well-authenticated facts, available here and abroad, which led to the conclusion that the forests, parks, and soil of the United States could provide the equivalent of full-time constructive work for two million persons. But at the time it was made, there was much scoffing in some quarters over this statement.

It was fully realized that even if the government put to work as many as 300,000 young men it would be solving only a fraction of the youth problem. The Civilian Conservation Corps was but a part of the employment programme; there were the CWA, later the WPA, Transient Camps, NYA, and the big programmes of public works. But the CCC played an important rôle from the beginning in using youthful hands and brains.

On March 21, 1933, just seventeen days after his inauguration, the President sent his message on emergency legislation to Congress.

On April 5 the President appointed Robert Fechner Director of Emergency Conservation Work. He was to set up an army of 300,000 young men to work in the forests, fields, and parks of America. He drafted the personnel and experience resources of four executive Departments — War, Labor, Agriculture, the Interior — to furnish plans of work and to select, enroll, examine, feed, clothe, and house these youths and to supervise their daily jobs. He wanted the Corps started, and started at once. There were food and clothes and tents and tools to be got, shelter and bedding, and superintendents and foremen to be picked and hired. The President was insistent that the Corps be started. The Enabling Act was passed on March 31, and on April 17 the first CCC camp was established.

The breadth and scope of the President’s plan fairly took away the breath of foresters and conservationists alike. The President provided immediate financing from existing unobligated balances; and he requested that matters affecting the size of the Civilian Conservation Corps, camps, scope of work, and such, be submitted for his personal approval. The Corps has ever since held the President’s personal interest, and it may also be said that his knowledge of its details is almost uncanny.

On April 10 the first quota of 25,000 men was called. By April 17 the first CCC camp near Luray, Virginia, appropriately in the George Washington National Forest, was set up in tents and immediately occupied. On May 12 the number of men to be enrolled was increased to 274,375.

The Army had swung into action. Labor had set up its selection agencies in every county. For decades the United States Forest Service had done longrange planning in managing timber, forage, recreation, and other forest-land resources. Its comprehensive work programmes were revised for the CCC. The Departments of Agriculture and the Interior picked the camp sites and, with their plans of work ready, by July 1, 1933, hundreds of thousands of men were at work in camps throughout the United States.

East Side New York boys found themselves one morning in the high meadows of the Glacier National Park; New Jersey and Connecticut youths waded through late spring snows in the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon; Texas farm boys saw their first mountains in Wyoming. Here was real adventure. City boys learned what an axe was, how to use it. City and country boys learned to drive trucks and tractors, to fell big trees, to build suspension bridges, to fight forest fires; learned how to take care of themselves in the wilderness. Here was hardihood. Shy boys, homesick for their mothers’ apron strings, had ‘childishness knocked out of them.’ The moral equivalents of war were being experienced by the CCC, as Professor James had predicted twenty-five years before.

The men were organized into 200-man companies; each camp was in charge of an Army reserve officer, with one junior and a medical officer. By 1936, the number of men in companies was reduced to 157, but the original 200-man units are now to be restored. The Army has charge of transporting, paying, feeding, clothing, and housing the boys. It has charge of their health, education, discipline, and morale while at camp headquarters. The camps are not in the strict sense military camps, nor has any militarization ever been allowed in them. These are not Army camps, but CCC camps with reserve officers in charge. Discipline is by character rather than command.

From the personnel of the enrollees are drawn cooks, orderlies, a mess steward, a supply steward, hospital aid, assistant educational adviser, clerks, and truck drivers. All field work or jobs outside of camp are directly under departmental technical agencies, for the most part from the Agriculture and Interior Departments, who exercise supervision over the actual work on the job. Project superintendents, foremen, and specialists — engineers, foresters, biologists, agronomists, soil experts, landscape architects, or entomologists — direct the work. They carry out the conservation plans and projects, and since the men work eight hours a day for five days a week, they are in close contact with the youths for at least forty hours a week. The foremen, in addition to directing the work, teach and train the boys, explaining not only the use of tools, machinery, and other equipment, but also the how and why of the jobs. Not only do these young men learn how to handle tools and equipment, how to drive trucks, tractors, and road machinery, but thousands of them become so proficient that after a year or so they are offered better jobs in the outside world. This is as it should be. The camps, therefore, are a real and a very practical training school for raw labor in that they teach untrained youths how to work, efficiently and conscientiously, what a day’s work is, and something of the dignity of labor. All this outdoor exercise in forest or field has its inevitable effect on their bodies, their minds, and their spirits, and one soon notices the growing and hardening muscles and the cheerful and smiling faces. Their pride and self-respect have been restored. They find exciting adventure in simple, direct experiences of their own in contrast to the vicarious adventure experiences of others as depicted in movies and the ‘pulps.’ The quantity and quality of their work have surprised seasoned foremen used to handling older and more skilled workmen.

In addition to the cash allowance of $5.00 a month for himself, the young man of the CCC receives food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, and an opportunity for practical training. But each enrollee has to allot most of his monthly pay of $30 to needy dependents. The allotments sent home by these young sons have made it possible for millions of families to have their names stricken from local relief rolls, or have kept families from the relief rolls.

V

The original national quota was a quarter of a million young, unmarried men between eighteen and twenty-five years of age. When the Congressional authorization for the first two years of CCC work expired on March 31, 1935, the President asked Congress to extend the programme for another two years and to provide funds for a substantial increase in Corps activities. The Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935 complied with the President’s request. It was at first planned to expand the Corps to a strength of 600,000 enrolled men, but by October 31, 1935, the office of Emergency Conservation Work had approximately 505,782 enrolled men at work on conservation projects from a total of 2635 camps. These figures represent the peak of the Corps since its inception in April 1933, and include men in the Civilian Conservation Corps in every state of the Union, 10,500 in Indian camps situated on Indian reservations, and 4500 residents of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, all working on conservation projects. Here is a veritable army with shovels, all enrolled in the cause of American Conservation!

The major purposes of the CCC programme for the first four years have been to relieve distress through the employment of idle young men on constructive conservation projects, to aid in the rehabilitation of youth, and to assist in the general administrative drive for economic recovery. The project was essentially one of restoring the confidence of young men in themselves, building them up physically, making them more useful citizens, and of launching the nation on a sound conservation programme which would protect, conserve, and expand our timber resources, increase recreational opportunities, reduce our tremendous soil wastage and the annual forest-fire toll.

The fact that there is no military discipline in these camps must be emphasized again. The Army early learned that CCC discipline must be secured and maintained through the personality of the reserve officers, through a few simple penalties — but maintained primarily by the boys themselves. These boys living together, working together, playing together, have worked out a practical social discipline of their own. A ‘gold-bricker’ entering a camp soon finds that loafing on the job is n’t popular, and that he must do his share; if he ‘can’t take it,’ he leaves camp — perhaps ‘goes over the hill,’ to use an old expression. The camp spirit brings a new man into line, or he finds CCC life not to his liking. There is no college hazing; the boys just make it plain that everyone must do his share. The simple penalties I have alluded to are denial of week-end leave privileges for minor infractions, a fine not exceeding three dollars for more serious ones, and, for very serious offenses, discharge from the Corps. The last is avoided if at all possible. There were sporadic outbreaks at first until it became known that there were no hardboiled regulations, that the men in charge of camp and work were human beings sincerely interested in the daily welfare of the boys.

The social values of the CCC are just beginning to be realized. Some authorities have credited directly to the Corps a decrease in juvenile crime. From the superintendent of the Nebraska Reformatory for Men comes the statement that the CCC has been responsible since 1933 for a 25 per cent decrease in the number of inmates in his institution. The superintendent of the Virginia State Penitentiary attributes to the CCC a drop in commitments of 156 in nine months. Justin Miller, chairman of the United States Attorney General’s Committee on Crime, in a statement of December 14, 1936, brought out the three main causes of juvenile crime and delinquency — those arising from the physical environment of the delinquent, from his contact with his family, and from his own personality and status in society. He added: —

A simple knowledge of the aim of the CCC, the conservation of both human and natural resources of the country, is enough to suggest what the organization does to oppose these conditions.

The CCC programme has made use of the forests, parks, and eroded fields of the nation to supply work for these idle youths; it has given hands and brains something to do. The forests and parks offered an opportunity not only to give these men jobs but also to restore confidence in themselves and to build them up physically. These things it has done for some two million men since the spring of 1933.

Not only has the CCC functioned in the orderly and planned work of conservation of natural resources, but it has also been the first line of defense in national and local catastrophes. When serious emergencies have arisen during the past four years, the call has gone out for CCC boys. Potomac, Ohio, and Mississippi floods, a Florida hurricane, an Alabama tornado, Oregon or Idaho forest fires, blizzards in Nevada, Utah, orWyoming, the Middle West drought of 1934, the advance of grasshopper and Mormon cricket hordes — always these called the CCC to rescue lives and property; and the boys answered, with willing hands, strong backs, and a comforting cheerfulness. Not infrequently such work called for acts of real heroism, and outstanding ones are recognized by an Award of Valor, a special certificate for the Corps. Hundreds of individuals have been recommended for such awards, but because of the high standards set less than twenty-five have been granted during the past four years.

The boys of the Corps have fought forest fires on a thousand fronts, devoting more than 3,800,000 man-days to this one activity; they have checked and controlled blister rust in the Northwest, Dutch elm disease in the Northeast, pine twig blight in the Southwest, and grasshoppers in the Middle West. They have battled bark beetles in Western forests, gypsy moth in the East — forest insects and tree diseases on over 15,000,000 acres. They have planted over a billion young trees — after collecting the seed, making the forest nurseries, and growing the seedlings. They have built 90,000 miles of truck trails or forest roads primarily as protection against forest fires; they have completed over 3,500,000 soilerosion check dams. And from their pay of $30 a month from 1933 up to July 1, 1937, they have sent home over $400,000,000 to an estimated number of 6,000,000 dependents. The total cost of the CCC from the beginning up to July 1, 1937, has been approximately $1,900,000,000. Of this, more than $825,000,000 was obligated for supplies, materials, services, lands, and equipment necessary for the functioning of the Corps. Over $770,000,000 was obligated for salaries and wages to enrollees, supervisory personnel, and all other employees. Food supplies have cost in excess of $225,200,000; the clothing and textile industries have received nearly $198,000,000; lumber and construction and building-trades industries have received approximately $80,000,000; transportation of enrollees and supplies has cost approximately $87,000,000. These are large sums, and yet is not such an investment justified when spent for the salvage of American natural resources worth many billions of dollars, and for saving the priceless human resource of American youth?

VI

Before the four years were up, the President recommended, and the people of the country approved, a permanent CCC. The President also recommended that, along with its permanency, the supervisory and technical personnel of the Corps be placed under the classified Civil Service. The Congress approved the new CCC Act on June 28, 1937, but for only three years, and without Civil Service. Instead of being a part of the Emergency Conservation Work as heretofore, the new Act sets up the Civilian Conservation Corps as a separate and independent unit and grants more authority to the Director of the Corps. Its strength is now definitely fixed at 315,000 men, to include 270,000 junior enrollees (ages seventeen to twenty-three inclusive), 30,000 war veterans, 10,000 Indians, and 5000 from Alaska and the insular possessions of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The Act sets a maximum term of enrollment of two years, except for a few special men such as camp overhead, veterans, insular enrollees, and Indians. More emphasis is put on practical training of enrollees on the job. Most important of the changes is the elimination of the former requirement that only boys from families on relief rolls were eligible; now, while preference will be given to ’relief rollers,’ the financial status of applicants will not be a bar to enrollment, provided the youth is unemployed or in need of employment. Enrollees will still be required to send home part of their pay, but provision is made for the War Department, the paymasters of the CCC, to retain a part of a man’s monthly compensation and pay this to him in a lump sum at the time of his discharge; this provision is made especially for orphans or boys who have no immediate dependents. Otherwise the Corps will function about as it has during the past four years.

The scope and kinds of conservation work hitherto in force will continue, with possibly a few exceptions. Perhaps forest planting or reforestation, soil erosion by water and wind, and protection of natural resources will receive more emphasis than heretofore.

The saving of the remnants of our natural resources from abuse and of our youth from the effects of the depression has just begun. The work of destruction on the former, running back through generations, cannot be repaired in a brief four years; denudation was too thorough and lasted too long for its scars to be healed so quickly. There are millions of boys entering the youth class of seventeen to twenty-three each year who will need healthy, outdoor work, who will need to learn something of social discipline, who will need to learn the lessons of practical conservation. No one can say that this big job of national conservation is now finished; it will take generations to complete.