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Elderberry Park Fix-It Celebrates 80th Anniversary of the U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps

Volunteers Celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Saturday June 29th, 9am-noon, 2013 – Elderberry Park has a long history. In 1917, the property was acquired as a patent for the United States Government to the city of Anchorage for use as a park. For almost a century, this park has been well-used and loved by locals and visitors alike. Couples have been married in this park. Many have fond memories of watching the trains go by as a kid, and now bring their own children to the park to view the inlet sunset.

This Saturday, Elderberry Park is going to get a volunteer-powered makeover. This is Phase 1 of a longer term plan to revitalize the park. Volunteers from the neighborhood, Youth Employment in Parks, the Oscar Anderson house, Trail Watch, AmeriCorps, and the Student Conservation Association will come together to improve Elderberry Park. Neighbor and owner of the Copper Whale Inn Glen Heminson says, “I love this neighborhood park and am really happy to make a difference so close to both my home and business.”

The volunteer event will be held as a celebration of the 80th anniversary of the U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was the most popular New Deal program, providing jobs for a total of 6 million young men. Implicitly, the CCC also led to increased awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resources. CCC volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America; constructed more than 800 parks that would become the start of most state parks; developed forest fire fighting methods; created a network of thousands of miles of public roadways; and constructed structures and buildings on our public lands.

The CCC established camps in the Chugach and Tongass National Forests, but many corps-modeled programs came later, and some of those corps workers live and work in Anchorage today.  Corps across the U.S. are recognizing the legacy of the CCC on Saturday. The Elderberry Park Fix-It celebrates the community contributions that corps have made both in Alaska and throughout the nation. A new effort to establish a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps that reflects the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps has been a key element of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. APF’s Youth Employment in Parks program is one of the first provisionally accredited Corps programs in the country for the 21st Century Conservation Corps, established to use Corps as a “backbone” for reaching the goal of having 100,000 young people serving annually as part of the initiative.

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