Locals and Next‐Door Natures
This part of the book investigates how the Corps and its conservation work transformed local communities situated near the more than five thousand CCC camps scattered across the country. To do this, Chapter Four focuses on two local communities in particular and their relationship with nearby Corps camps. In Coon Valley, Wisconsin, residents embraced both conservation and the New Deal as agricultural production rose on local farms cooperating with the Corps' soil conservation camps. Residents from a second community, located near CCC camps developing Great Smoky Mountains National Park for outdoor recreation, also welcomed Corps conservation and the New Deal but for very different reasons. In the Smokies locals supported the CCC not because it increased natural resource production, as in Coon Valley, but rather because CCC projects such as the building of hiking trails, visitor centers, and motor roads promised increased tourism to the nearby national park. While the CCC helped popularize this alternative form of conservation based outdoor recreation throughout the country, during the mid-1930s a vocal minority in each of these communities began criticizing the Corps in particular, and the New Deal by association, for being environmentally unsound. Chapter Four concludes by introducing the leaders of this critique, Aldo Leopold in Coon Valley and Robert Marshall in the Great Smokies, and suggests that this local opposition by two of the most important figures in modern environmentalism would greatly shape both the conservation movement and the New Deal during the later Great Depression period.
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