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Nature's New DealThe Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Enviromental Movement$
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Neil M. Maher

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306019

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306019.001.0001

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New Deal Landscapes in the Environmental Era

(p.211) EPILOGUE
Nature's New Deal

Neil M. Maher (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The final chapter traces the CCC's legacy into the post–World War II period. It does so by focusing on the controversy, during the mid-to-late 1940s, surrounding the Bureau of Reclamation's plan to construct a hydroelectric dam in Dinosaur National Monument's Echo Park, which straddles the Utah—Colorado border. While environmental historians have long viewed the defeat of the Echo Park dam as one of the founding moments of the American environmental movement, this chapter argues that this victory by environmentalists was predicated on the Corps and its conservation work during the New Deal period. For instance, during the 1930s the CCC developed Dinosaur National Monument for outdoor recreation, a process that later brought outdoor enthusiasts into the anti-dam camp. Criticism of Corps conservation work during the early 1940s, however, raised public concern about the destruction of wilderness and ecological balance in the region as well. When the federal government announced plans for the Echo Park dam during the late 1940s, these concerns resurfaced and guided environmentalist opposition. This chapter ends by discussing the declining power of the federal government within postwar conservation, and concludes, somewhat ironically, that the strong hand of the New Deal helped make what eventually became environmentalism a more democratic movement.

Keywords:   Post World War II, Dinosaur National Monument, Echo Park, environmentalism, Civilian Conservation Corps, CCC, New Deal

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