Prince William Forest Park is more than a great location to hike. The park has ties to the Great Depression era, and that was the theme of a historic cabin tour hosted at the park over the weekend.
According to Prince William Forest Park Ranger Cecilia Lynch, the park, formerly known as the Chompawamsic Recreational Demonstration Area, was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) – one of the New Deal programs during President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency.
The park was built in 1936 by 2,000 men from the CCC, according to Lynch. The tour gave individuals an insight into the history of the park, and its historic structures.
“The Civilian Conservation Corps – they built all these cabins…back then it was called Chopawamsic. These men came out, and they proceeded to build the model for other parks all over the nation,” said Lynch.
Lynch spoke about how programs like the CCC, really helped to put men in the United States back to work, when the nation’s economy was struggling.
“One of the ideas to get us out of the Great Depression was to put men to work…one in 25 working men in the Great Depression were out of work…so there were plans to put people to work, and the Civilian Conservation Corps was one of them,” said Lynch.
She also went on to speak about how projects like building Prince William Forest Park were a way for the country to take better care of public lands.
“All across America, public lands had been used and abused…some of those public lands…they were devastated by unauthorized logging, poor logging practices, poor farming practices, poor grazing practices. The Civil Conservation Corps planted trees…out West they planted millions of trees…they began to rebuild this country,” said Lynch.
The park intermittently hosts these walking history tours and other programs.