Civilian Conservation Corps alumni reunion set

The over 80-year-old entrance to the Civilian Conservation Corps Speculator Camp S-90 will greet visitors to the 85th anniversary of the CCC on Saturday, June 23. The camp has been restored and is Camp Sagamore a summer youth camp. (Photo courtesy of Art Conduzio)

POINT PLEASANT — On   June 23, a reunion of Civilian Conservation Corps alumni, family and friends will meet at 10 a.m. at Camp Sacandaga at 117 Page St. (Route 8) in Point Pleasant, near Speculator. They will celebrate the 85th anniversary of the founding of the CCC by sharing their stories and pictures of the CCC. All who are interested in the CCC are welcome to attend.

Marty Podskoch, author of “Adirondack Civilian Conservation Corps Camps: Its History, Memories and Legacy,” will give a Power Point presentation on the history of the CCC camps in the Adirondack and photos of the old Speculator CCC camp S-59 and S-90.

S-59 was established on June 12, 1933 on 4.4 acres of rented land on Paige Street in the town of Lake Pleasant. The men lived in tents and worked at the nearby Moffitt Beach State Park on Sacandaga Lake. After five months, Camp S-59 closed on Nov. 11, 1933 because winter had set in.

The following spring, Camp S-90 was established at the same site on May 11, 1934. Another project was an extension and improvement of the Sacandaga (Wells) and Lewey Lake (Indian Lake) campsites.

They also improved the Northville-Placid Trail from Benson to Piseco.

Camp S-90 also worked to eradicate blister rust by destroying the gooseberry and currant bushes. The young men did reforestation work on state land and stream improvement projects.

The camp closed in 1942 and three years later became the 4-H camp for five counties. It operated until 2004. It was dormant till 2010 when Caroline and Don Naysmith purchased it. They restored it and used it for a camp for children with special needs. They then sold it to Jim Tavers who operates it as a youth summer camp called Camp Sacandaga.

After Podskoch’s talk, CCC alumni, family and friends will share their CCC stories. This will be followed with a luncheon in the old Camp Speculator Mess Hall.

The CCC was a public works program that operated from 1933 to 1942, as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. It targeted single men, 18 to 25 years, and veterans in relief of families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression.

The program provided unskilled manual labor to environmental conservation and to development of natural resources in rural lands.

The U.S. Army supervised the camps, which had 200 men each.

The earliest camps were set up in these Adirondack towns and counties: Arietta and Speculator (Hamilton); Bolton Landing (Warren); Tahawus, Newcomb, Schroon River and Port Henry (Essex); Wanakena and Benson Mines (St. Lawrence); Paul Smiths, Goldsmiths, Tupper Lake, Lake Placid, and Fish Creek Pond (Franklin). There were eventually 26 camps in the Adirondacks.

For more information and luncheon reservations contact, Tavers, director of Camp Sacandaga at (518) 548-4742 or campdirectorjim@gmail.com.

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