The Civilian Conservation Corps or "CCC boys" as they were nicknamed, were an integral part of creating many of the state parks throughout Florida. At Myakka, these hardworking men blazed trails, built bridges, dug the boat basin, erected the dam, and constructed many buildings still in use today.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt instated the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as part of his New Deal, a group of economic-oriented legislation enacted in the height of the Great Depression. FDR used the Army’s organization and materials to provide camps for CCC enrollees, typically young men trying to support their suddenly-impoverished family. The Myakka Valley was granted a corps in 1934 to turn it into Myakka River State Park.
While the work was exhausting, the men of the CCC created an almost century-long impact in fewer than seven short years. The contemporary Visitor Center was a horse barn built by the CCC men. You can still see the hay doors above! Farther into the park, the Log Pavilion is also a surviving CCC building. The corps nearly clear-cut the trees around it and constructed the pavilion from the surrounding Cabbage Palms. The Log Pavilion was the original concession area in the park, and visitors can see the remnants of the boat dock on the river behind the pavilion. The Log Pavilion is now a favorite for weddings, birthday parties and family reunions.
The Birdwalk, South Pavilion, cabins, boat basin, trails, staff housing and so much more are all indebted to the work of the CCC. These stand not only as historical sites, but as a testament to the hard work and dedication of these young men as they improved the world around them for generations to come.