Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of History

Committee Chair

H. Duane Hampton


University of Montana


Throughout its seventy-two year history, the National Park Service has walked a fine line between the two parts of its mission as set forth in the Park Service’s organic act of August 25, 1916. Congress dictated that the Service provide for the enjoyment of the people, yet, at the same time, preserve the nation’s parks unimpaired for future generations. The fledgling Park Service’s officials needed to find ways of bringing more money to the Service to establish a firm base for park system growth. Park Service administrators knew that only by attracting more visitors to the parks could the public interest in the parks develop, which, in turn, would bring increased appropriations for the Service. Throughout the 1920s, Steven Mather and his successor, Horace Albright expanded the Park Service’s interests by including battlefields, historic sites, and recreation areas under the Service’s auspices to provide a greater variety of park experiences for more people. Faced with reduced appropriations in the depths of the Depression, the Park Service concentrated on the ’’use” aspect of its dichotomous mission as a way to increase visitation, and therefore, appropriations.

The Park Service welcomed the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as a harbinger of increased financial security. The financial resources and the manpower of the CCC enabled the Park Service to develop the nation’s parks for tourist comfort. This study concentrates on Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks as case histories of the National Park Service use of the CCC to develop the nation’s parks.

Most of the CCC work projects in Glacier and Yellowstone concentrated on making the parks more comfortable or more attractive for visitors. Reforestation, campground development, the building of roads and trails, fire hazard reduction, and fire fighting were major CCC projects designed to achieve those ends in Glacier and Yellowstone parks.

Materials used in this study include primary and secondary sources. The primary sources, including the Glacier and Yellowstone superintendents’ annual and monthly reports, Emergency Conservation Work/CCC directors' reports and numerous ex-CCC enrollee reminiscences proved particularly informative.



© Copyright 1988 Matthew A. Redinger