The 21st Century CCC

 

On behalf of the Student Conservation Association, I would like to thank Gundars Rudzitis for recognizing the miraculous accomplishments of the original Civilian Conservation Corps (“We need a new Civilian Conservation Corps,” HCN, 10/31/16). I would point out, however, that a new CCC already exists! The 21st century Conservation Corps is composed of over 130 organizations, such as the Student Conservation Association, California Conservation Corps, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Montana Conservation Corps, Northwest Youth Corps, and more. This network of organizations is already engaging thousands of young people in the stewardship of America’s public lands — making us fully capable to undertake any project thrown our way by the Park Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife, and any other agency managing lands for conservation purposes.

What is needed, as Mr. Rudzitis notes, is increased dedicated federal funding. As nonprofits, we can operate more efficiently and at lower cost than any new federal program or agency. Plus, this network fosters the all-important goal of public-private partnerships — and partnerships are the trail to the future.

Jay Thomas Watson
Vice president, Western United States

Student Conservation Association

Oakland, California