History of the CCC

Hard work, low pay, miserable conditions, and more!

July 7, 1976

July 7, 1976

Legislation signed by Governor Brown establishing the CCC.

Photo of Senate Bill signed by Gov. Brown, reading CCC Good Luck, Jerry Brown, but a beginning ...

1977

1977

Image, left to right on couch is Gov. Jerry Brown, LeRoy Chatfield and Buck Hornor

LeRoy Chatfield appointed director; opens 18 centers in 18 months. Shown with Gov. Brown and first CCC director Buck Hornor.

1979

B.T. Collins talks to seated Corpsmembers in 1979

B.T. Collins appointed director (1979-81). Created “Hard work, low pay, miserable conditions” motto.

Posed shot of the first Backcountry Trails Program crew in 1979

Energy and Backcountry Trails programs established.

1983

1983

Gov. Deukmejian signs legislation making the CCC a permanent state department.

Photo of Sacramento Bee news clipping featuring excited Corpsmember and Gov. Deukmejian holding a power tool

CCC Director Bud Sheble (1983-1991) adds the “and more” to the CCC motto.

Photo of CCC mural which was located on the original CCC headquarters

First international exchange program.

1985

1985

The CCC awarded the United Nations Environment Programme Medal. CCC Director Bud Sheble speaks at the U.N. ceremony in New York.

Scanned image, reads Certificate of Distinction, United Nations Headquarters, General Assembly Hall, 5 June 1985, Prested to California Conservation Corps by the United National Environment Programme for outstanding environmental leadership on World Environment Day 1985

1986

1986

Major flood response throughout the state — 1,070 Corpsmembers mobilized.

Photo of newsclipping depicting CCC Corpsmembers doing flood control work along a levee

1988

1988

CCC Corpsmembers pose in front of Australian flag and vehicle

Australian exchange established.

Corpsmember post in front of bridge in Australia

1989

1989

Loma Prieta earthquake recovery work, shown in San Francisco’s Marina District. Crews also worked in San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.

Three CCC Corpsmembers carry supplies in front of leveled building on San Francisco street 1989

1990

1990

Corpsmembers in full wildland fire equipment post for photo

Major fire response, largest to date — 71 crews, 822 Corpsmembers.

1991

1991

Oakland Hills fire rehabilitation work, 1991-92.  Work included placing straw mats and hay bales on hillsides to prevent erosion from winter rains.

Blue CCC crew vehicle parked in fire ravaged neighborhood

Corpsmembers use hay bales to shore up fire damaged hillside

1992

1992

Los Angeles civil unrest recovery work.

Budget cuts close CCC training academy and three residential centers, including the Bay Area Center in Richmond.

Photo of uniform patch, reads CCC Bay Area, depicts dolphins swimming under Bay Bridge

 

1994

1994

Corpsmembers use pneumatic equipment to tear down damaged chimney of home in Santa Clarita area

Northridge Earthquake Recovery Corps established to do work from helping out at shelters to removing damaged chimneys.

Photo of uniform patch. Shape of California, reads Northridge Earthquake Recovery Program, San Fernando Valley, 6.8, L.A. County

1997

1997

Corpsmembers place sandbags along levee

Major response to El Niño storms.

1998

1998

Three Corpsmembers pose with high school diplomas in cap and gowns

John Muir Charter High School opens. While in the CCC, Corpsmembers can earn their high school diplomas.

2001

2001

Corpsmembers handing out brochures on city street

Corpsmembers hand out nearly two million compact fluorescent light bulbs throughout the state as part of the CCC’s Powerwalk.

2003

2003

 

White CCC crew vehicle parked on road with smoke covered sun in background

Crews respond to Old Fire and Cedar Fire.

Budget cuts close residential centers, including the Butte Fire Center.

Photo of uniform patch, depicts eagle in front of forest and lake, reads CCC CDF Butte Fire Center

2005

2005

Corpsmember uses axe to hammer wedge into downed tree he is trying to split apart

Hurricane recovery work in Louisiana.

2007

2007

Cosco Busan oil spill cleanup in the San Francisco Bay.

Corpsmember ties knot in tyvek suit assisting in oil spill recovery along beach

2008

2008

Major fire response — 74 crews, 801 Corpsmembers.

Fire crew Corpsmembers pose in equipment while hillside behind them is engulfed in flames

2009

2009

Photo of news clipping from the San Francisco Chronicle, headline reads "Campaign seeks to save the corps"

Governors alliance formed to counteract pressure to close the CCC. The program survives.

2011

2011

Corpsmembers in fire gear hike along trail

Veterans Corps Fisheries Program established. The CCC continues to hire veterans up to age 29.

2013

2013

Corpsmember using screwdriver to open light fixture

Energy Corps launched.

Rim Fire response.

Corpsmembers in fire gear use hose rolling machine to roll hose at fire camp

2015

2015

Portrait photo of Director Bruce Saito

Bruce Saito appointed director.

2016

2016

CCC 40th anniversary with founder Gov. Brown at the California State Capitol in Sacramento. The Corps also celebrated at Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

Corpsmember shakes hands with Gov. Jerry Brown with Director Bruce Saito standing next to him

Six former CCC directors attended the Sacramento celebration.

Six current and former directors pose for photo in Los Angeles

2017

2017

Butte Fire Center re-established.

Unprecedented response to out-of-state fires.

Hurricane recovery crews sent to Texas, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands.

Corpsmember uses chain saw to cut up downed tree

 

2018

2018

The new CCC Delta Center opens in Stockton.

image Delta Center ribbon cutting

More than 300 Corpsmembers on 20 crews respond to the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA. Corpsmembers work more than 47,000 hours battling the fire and supporting base camp operations. The CCC Butte Fire Center (now Magalia Fire Center) is evacuated, but not damaged by the nearby inferno.

image Corpsmember on fire line

2020

Corpsmembers work a historic 1.2 million hours on emergency assignments, including 1.1 million hours battling wildfires and supporting fire base camps.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Corpsmembers across the state support local food banks, Cal OES warehouses, the state’s emergency operations center, and surge capacity hospital logistics.