During the Great Depression, young men were unable to provide for their families, due to lack of employment and tough financial times in the U.S.
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration created the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was led by reserve officers in the U.S. Army.
Over nine years, the Corps not only gave men a job but helped to build and create some national and state parks and fire towers, restore forest and farmland, and construct lakes, dams and trails.
Authors Ren and Helen Davis are touring the U.S. in promotion of their new book, "Our Mark on This Land - A Guide to the Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps in America's Parks."
They will visit Leonard Harrison State Park's visitors center from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday to lead a program highlighting the efforts of the CCC.
"Most of the men who participated in the CCC are now up in years and still have so many things to share," said Timothy Morey, natural resource specialist with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources at Hills Creek State Park complex.
He said the authors came to the agency's attention while they were putting the book together.
The CCC was instrumental in building and developing Colton Point and Leonard Harrison state parks.
"They are part of the local heritage," Morey said of the young men who worked for the Corps.
Colton Point, which sits on the western rim of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, was completely built by the CCC.
DCNR notes that the CCC worked on the park from 1933 to 1936. In 1936, the park opened to the public.
When visitors come to the park, they still can see the historical contributions the Corps made. CCC crews made the railings, stone pillars and timber posts inside the park's popular pavilions, Morey said.
"There is plenty of evidence to be seen at Colton Point," he added.
In 1988, the CCC-built facilities were added to the National Register of Historic Places, DCNR said.
The CCC was involved in improving Leonard Harrison's 121 acres in the mid-1930s. In the late 1940s, additional lands were added to the park.
A bronze monument was erected and can be seen today in honor of their achievements, according to DCNR.
The Laurel Festival began in the late 1930s, during the time when the CCC was doing work, which later helped to promote tourism to the area, Morey said.
"It (the CCC) helped coin the phrase 'Pennsylvania Grand Canyon,' " he said.
In other areas where CCC camps were built or where crews worked, historical plaques note their work.
At Leonard Harrison, a map shows where CCC camps were located in Pennsylvania.
The park hosts the annual Civilian Conservation Corps Reunion and Picnic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 11 this year. It will be held at the large pavilion behind the park office and anyone who was involved in the CCC, as well as their family and friends, are invited.
"The annual CCC picnic is open to anyone. It highlights the efforts of the CCC and any members or family and friends. It's a way to remember the great opportunity for these young men at the time and be able to hear their stories," Morey said.
The picnic - as well as this week's author presentation - also are great ways for anyone who is curious about the Corps to learn what it meant to the state and to the men who were a part of it.
Registration for the reunion is required by July 31 by calling the park and a nominal fee will cover the catered lunch.
Morey said the authors have been invited back for the August picnic to share their stories and maybe hear some new ones.