Musical tribute to the Civilian Conservation Corps coming to 3 state parks

Michigan-based author and songwriter Bill Jamerson will present the “Dollar a Day Boys” program, a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps, at Itasca, Buffalo River and Lake Bemidji state parks over Memorial Day weekend. 

Jamerson has presented at CCC reunions around the country and at dozens of state and national parks. The presentation includes storytelling, reading excerpts from his novel and performing original songs with his guitar.

“The program is as entertaining as it is important; as honest as it is fun,” said Jamerson. “It is about people both ordinary and extraordinary, with stories of strength, wit and charm.”

Program schedule:

  • Itasca State Park (Park Rapids) – Friday, May 26, 7 to 8 p.m., at the Forest Inn.
  • Buffalo River State Park (Glyndon) – Saturday, May 27, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at park picnic shelter.
  • Lake Bemidji State Park (Bemidji) – Sunday, May 28, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., at the amphitheater.

A question-and-answer period and book signing will follow the presentations. People are encouraged to bring CCC photo albums and memorabilia if they have any.

Jamerson will also present a 45-minute children’s lumberjack show at Lake Bemidji State Park on Sunday, May 28, at 10 a.m. at the park Dining Hall. With guitar in hand and dressed in costume, Jamerson will tell stories about the lumberjack experience in Minnesota and sing traditional songs about working in the woods, living in a bunkhouse, work ethics, hardships of river drives and the importance of camp food.

The Civilian Conservation Corps was a federal works program created by President Franklin Roosevelt in the heart of The Great Depression. During its nine-year run from 1933-1942, 2.6 million men enrolled across the country including 86,000 in Minnesota. An average of 51 camps operated in Minnesota each year with a total financial obligation of $85 million.

Itasca State Park was a site for one of the many CCC camps. The “C”s planted more than 180 million trees in Minnesota, fought hundreds of forest fires, released several billion fish in rivers and lakes, built hundreds of dams and bridges and constructed thousands of miles of roads.

Other state parks constructed by the “C”s include St. Croix, Lac qui Parle, Gooseberry Falls, Whitewater, Interstate and Flandrau. Camp Rabideau in Blackduck, north of Bemidji, is still standing and contains many original CCC buildings. It is one of the finest camp restorations in the nation.

Aside from his songs, Jamerson has written a book and several articles on the CCC, as well as produced 11 PBS films.

For more information visit mndnr.gov/state_parks, or visit Jamerson’s website at billjamerson.com.

NOTE: Minnesota CCC photos are available for download at: http://www.ccclegacy.org/Archives_Minnesota.php.