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CCC interpretive trail recognized by state

The Friends of South Cumberland State Park has been recognized by the Tennessee Historical Commission (THC) for its work in building an interpretive trail on the site of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Company 1475 in the South Cumberland State Park.

THC awarded 2021 Certificate of Merit Awards to organizations that completed preservation projects at historic locations across the state. These awards are presented each May during National Preservation Month. Since 1975, THC’s Certificate of Merit Program has recognized exemplary work by individuals, groups, organizations, corporations, or governmental entities to further promote historic preservation or the study of history in Tennessee. Nominations are solicited from the public in December of the preceding year and judged by category.

With the financial support of the South Cumberland Community Fund and other donors and volunteers, park rangers and Friends volunteers restored the site of CCC Company 1475 in the Grundy Forest near Tracy City, where, during the 1930s, the camp was headquartered. The project identified, cleared and began to conserve some of the aging camp infrastructure, including foundations, cisterns and paths, and created a new interpretive loop that takes visitors to the most interesting areas of the site.

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The CCC, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, created jobs for “able-bodied young men” needing work during the Great Depression. Company 1475 included a number of buildings which housed, fed, hospitalized and stored equipment and supplies for the workers from the mid-1930s to the beginning of World War II. The company created Grundy Lakes, now used for swimming, paddling and fishing, as well as many of the hiking trails that would later become South Cumberland State Park. They also erected fire towers, built roads, strung some of the first telephone lines in the area and fought forest fires.

Around 1938, the company also set up a satellite camp at what is now Franklin State Forest near Sewanee.

The interpretive trail can be accessed at the Grundy Forest/Fiery Gizzard North trail head, off U.S. Highway 41 near Tracy City. More history and photos can be found at https://www.friendsofsouthcumberland.org/ccc.html.

The Friends of South Cumberland State Park is a group of volunteer citizens dedicated to supporting the South Cumberland State Park. At 30,837 acres in Grundy, Marion, Sequatchie and Franklin counties, it is Tennessee’s second largest state park.

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To learn more about the high level of achievement recognized by THC’s Merit Award program or download an application and submit a nomination for the 2022 competition, go to https://www.tn.gov/historicalcommission/about-us/merit-award-program.html or contact Susan McClamroch at susan.mcclamroch@tn.gov.

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