The Civil Conservation Corps was one of the hallmark recovery programs of the Great Recession, a means of creating mass employment for public works projects across the nation. Brandon Walsh, National Director of United Sportsmen’s Youth Foundation thinks it’s a good idea and has asked President Trump for the job. I interviewed Walsh at the recent Safari Club International Convention and found his ideas interesting and pragmatic.
United Sportsmen’s Youth Foundation (USYF)
As Director Walsh builds chapters around the country with the goal of uniting sportsmen, agriculture, and communities with an emphasis on conservation and the shooting sorts. “One of our big projects it to buy land near schools which we turn into parks,” Walsh says. “We open them to Boy Scout, shooting groups, and other organizations. Shooting is one of our listed uses and we promote that. Unlike some preserves, we open them up to conservation and agriculture.”
One such property is near Freeport Illinois, an urban inner city, one mile form a city grade school which has hosted more than 1,000 kidsto get a shooting badge. It’s near a river and the USYF has an annual 100-mile river cleanup. “The organization tries to lead by example and the Youth Foundation Committee teaches kids to be the solution, not just talk about problems. Plus, nearly everyone likes to be on a river in July,” Walsh says.
Bring Back the CCC
“I want to rebuild the program and lead the conservation movement. I need President Donald Trump to appoint me as director, congressional support and help from the top down,” Walsh says. “The goal is to give people who don’t have a job a job, but we need to incorporate union leaders so that they can teach necessary skills. I’d like to rebuild our crumbling park infrastructures, camping pavilions, help erosion control, and the human element is the best part. If you are unemployed or in prison, you get out and receive a medal for five years of service and 5,000 dollars toward a house. There are huge projects that need work like Yosemite. An army of workers helped build the Hoover Dam. It was a huge project and I’ve interviewed guys in their 80’s who drew a check from the CCC. We have a dam in Chicago called the Governor Stratton Dam, build by the CCC. Guys bring their grandkids to see the dam, saying,‘I helped build that dam’ and do so with is pride.”
Benefit to Wildlife
Walsh believes the new CCC could have a significant Impact on hunting and fishing. We need irrigated alfalfa and water control structures to help deal with droughts and build food plots, and new lands for wildlife like the CRP program. Planting trees is conservation areas is important and emulates the original program.
“I’m going to volunteer one year for free,” Walsh says. and think it will take 10 years to get it going.” Walsh thinks the program can be bipartisan and emphasizes the need to involve the building trades. Under his plan, one union worker would work directly with three CCC workers to assist in job training. He plans to pay the union trainer $2 over scale to assure quality of work.