The Missouri Department of Conservation has denied a request by a local Civilian Conservation Corps alumni group to build a parking lot and trail on MDC property off Hwy. 185 near Meramec State Park.
The group, the Meramec Valley Chapter of the National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni, had sought permission from the MDC to build a monument and parking area on the former site of the CCC camp located along the Meramec River approximately one-half mile south of the river bridge near the state park south of Sullivan.
The CCC was a nationwide program developed by President Roosevelt during the Great Depression of the 1930’s to give young men jobs and to bolster a federal forestry program by planting millions of trees nationwide. The young men lived at the camps, including Camp No. 2728 at Meramec State Park – the remnants of that camp can be found on MDC land across the river from Meramec State Park.
The local alumni group includes men that worked and lived at the local camp; they (and others) sought to build a monument on the property to honor those that served the local CCC camp.
In an MDC letter dated Nov. 17, 2003, MDC Forestry Supervisor Cathy deJong notified the alumni chapter that the MDC Regional Coordination Team – which is made up Regional Supervisors from a variety of MDC departments – discussed the request and decided to deny it based on the complexity of the site.
“Although we all agree that the Civilian Conservation Corps were a dedicated group of individuals that played an important role in our state’s history, we have made a decision to deny your groups request to build a parking lot and trail to the camp remains on the Meramec Conservation Area,” wrote deJong.
“This project is not a priority project planned for this area and no specific objectives were identified in the area plan for this project. Parking lots and trails construction are costly projects to build and maintain long term.”
The MDC also noted that the Missouri Department of Transportation would have to grant permission for the construction and ingress and egress for Hwy. 185 – the costs would include grading, graveling, leveling, and drainage. Furthermore, the MDC noted, continued maintenance costs would be incurred for mowing, trash removal, etc.
Although the denial may prohibit the group from building a monument at the MDC site, the alumni chapter has received tentative approval to erect a plaque at the original CCC site located within the state park. Meramec State Park is under the supervision of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. (PHOTO: Location of proposed monument in Meramec State Park/Fireside Lodge)