It is doubtful that any other event or force could have influenced the development of state parks in our region as did the presence of the Civilian Conservation Corps. With Roosevelt came the CCC and the WPA and with these agencies came a workforce that was to build state park systems. Out of the blight of the depression came the bloom of the parks. State conservation leaders quickly grasped the opportunity offered by this federal aid and moved to convert their large tracts of land into public recreational areas.
Within the Corps were thousands of young men who had come of age during a no-job depression. Their dejected spirits were to be enlivened by their accomplishments in the wide-open spaces where they were creating a whole new way of life for their generation and for generations to come.
South Carolina's first CCC camp moved onto an area near Cheraw in March of 1934. Other areas followed in quick succession and within the next half dozen years, sixteen Corps camps were creating sixteen state parks, ranging from the mountains to the sea. Neighboring states were having the same experiences. Credit must be given for the helpful cooperation and guidance received from the National Park Service and from the Federal and State Forestry Departments.
When the Corps was abolished in 1942, it was a signal that a milestone had been reached. It was time for park leaders to stop, take stock, and plan for the future. The directors in the southeastern region felt that a small, close-knit organization would enable them to readily communicate, exchange ideas, and be more sensitive to the solution of their mutual problems.
Thus, in the year of 1942, South Carolina invited its neighbors to assemble at Table Rock State Park to promote such an idea. The reports of the several states in this history tell of the successes of the movement.
Now it is 1977; then it was 1942 thirty-five years! Still strong and still serving. How enduring and how endearing is state park work, and how favored is the man who has the vision!
by C. West Jacocks, Director, South Carolina State Parks, 1948-1963