|Wednesday, May 9, 2007|
Staff and guests celebrated the dedication of a commemorative plaque honoring the accomplishments of the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) at Chiricahua National Monument. This special event was held April 21 at the visitor center. Superintendent Brian Carey and Michael I. Smith, President of Chapter 44 of the National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni and Southwest Regional Director, had the honors of unveiling the plaque.
The bronze bas relief plaque was donated by the National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni, Southern Arizona Chapter 149, Tucson, Arizona. There are only five of these plaques in Arizona. Matt Fredrickson and Ruben Pena, of the Chiricahua Trail Crew constructed the base of native rhyolite stone.
Special guests included former CCC enrollees: Fred Garcia, Bill Millard, Archimedes "Archie" Fraijo, and Henry "Jack" Duncan. The men shared their stories and experiences during a question and answer session following opening remarks by Superintendent Carey. Robin Pinto, graduate student at the University of Arizona, presented her research for the National Register of Historic Places nomination of the CCC Historic District, which covers over 10,000 acres of the monument. Music was provided by Amy Ross.
From June 1934 to June of 1940, members of CCC Camp NM-2-A lived and worked in Bonita Canyon. They constructed twelve miles of hiking and horse trails, reconstructed Bonita Canyon Highway, and built nearly all of the buildings and facilities that are found in the monument today. The plaque includes a quote often stated by former CCC enrollees, âIt was the best thing that ever happened to me.â