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Montana Western students to present living history

UMW News Bureau

historical posterUniversity of Montana Western environmental interpretation students will give a living history of the Birch Creek Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Students will don period clothing and present an oral and visual history of the Birch Creek CCC Camp.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was designed to provide people with jobs during the Depression while working on projects related to natural resources such as forestry, soil erosion and flood control.

Construction of the Birch Creek CCC Camp commenced on April 25, 1935. By May 9, 1935, a company of 200 CCC workers, many from the East coast, were established at "Camp Birch Creek." The workers built 15 facilities at Birch Creek, eight of which are still intact. Under the direction of the U.S. Forest Service, the CCC undertook extensive projects, including new road construction and reconstruction in the area; campground development; fire control; surveying; search and rescue; and the construction of telephone lines.

In addition, the Birch Creek Camp emphasized educational programs for the resident young men. Classes taught at the camp included bookkeeping, forestry, shorthand, auto mechanics, math, Spanish, English, blacksmithing, carpentry, song class, road location and surveying and numerous others.

The CCC crew remained at Camp Birch Creek until 1941. In 1942, the national Corps was dissolved. The Birch Creek site is presently on the National Register of Historic Places and is operated by the University of Montana Western.

The free public event will take place at the site of the original Birch Creek Camp located 22 miles northwest of Dillon in the East Pioneer Mountains via Birch Creek Road.