FDR stopped it and physically changed the face of the world in the better direction.
In 1932, when the American public voted President Herbert Hoover out of office, they were searching for an end to the economic chaos and unemployment that had gripped the nation for two years. They turned to a man promising a better life than the one they had known since the beginning of the Great Depression — Franklin D. Roosevelt.
When FDR took office, he immediately commenced a massive revitalization of the nation's economy. In response to the depression that hung over the nation in the early 1930s, President Roosevelt created many programs designed to put Americans back to work.
Roosevelt was not interested in the dole. He was was determined, rather, to preserve the pride of American workers in their own ability to earn a living, so he concentrated on creating jobs.
In his first 100 days in office, President Roosevelt approved several measures as part of his "New Deal," including the Emergency Conservation Work Act (ECW), better known as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). With that action, he brought together the nation's young men and the land in an effort to save them both. Roosevelt proposed to recruit thousands of unemployed young men, enlist them in a peacetime army, and send them to battle the erosion and destruction of the nation's natural resources. More than any other New Deal agency, the CCC is considered to be an extension of Roosevelt's personal philosophy.
The speed with which the plan moved through proposal, authorization, implementation, and operation was certainly a miracle of cooperation among all the agencies and branches of the federal government. From FDR's inauguration on March 4, 1933, to the induction of the first CCC enrollee, only 37 days had elapsed.
The CCC, also known as Roosevelt's Tree Army, was credited with renewing the nation's decimated forests by planting an estimated three billion trees from 1933 to 1942. This was crucial, especially in states affected by the Dust Bowl, where reforestation was necessary to break the wind, hold water in the soil, and hold the soil in place. So far reaching was the CCC's reforestation program that it was responsible for more than half the reforestation, public and private, accomplished in the nation's history.
...By 1942, there was hardly a state that could not boast of permanent projects left as markers by the CCC. The CCC worked on improving millions of acres of federal and state lands, as well as parks. New roads were built, telephone lines strung, and trees planted.
CCC projects included:
* more than 3,470 fire towers erected;
* 97,000 miles of fire roads built;
* 4,235,000 man-days devoted to fighting fires;
* more than 3 billion trees planted;
* 7,153,000 man days expended on protecting the natural habitats of wildlife; 83 camps in 15 Western states assigned 45 projects of that nature;
* 46 camps assigned to work under the direction of the U.S. Bureau of Agriculture Engineering;
* more than 84,400,000 acres of good agricultural land receive manmade drainage systems; Indian enrollees do much of that work;
* 1,240,000 man-days of emergency work completed during floods of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys;
* disease and insect control;
* forest improvement — timber stand inventories, surveying, and reforestation;
* forest recreation development — campgrounds built, complete with picnic shelters, swimming pools, fireplaces, and restrooms.
...The Civilian Conservation Corps was one of the most successful New Deal programs of the Great Depression. It existed for fewer than 10 years, but left a legacy of strong, handsome roads, bridges, and buildings throughout the United States. Between 1933 and 1941, more than 3,000,000 men served in the CCC...