The State Park Movement in America: A Crictical Review

By Ney C. Landrum | Go to book overview

8
An Unexpected Boon
Economic Recovery and a New Deal for State Parks

America’s state park movement had been at least temporarily energized by the work of the National Conference on State Parks, and the resulting growth had been steady if not phenomenal. But even at the dawn of the fourth decade of the twentieth century, no more than a handful of states could honestly claim to have a well-established system of parks. Some of the others had made a creditable start but had failed to follow through. And the rest—probably a dozen or more—had not caught the spark at all.

There were two obvious reasons for this apparent inertia: lack of interest and lack of money. Because—as history has amply demonstrated—the availability of money will quickly stimulate interest, the solution to the problem could be reduced to that one factor: a reliable funding source. Who would have thought, as the national economy seemed in a headlong free fall, that financial assistance for state parks on a scale previously undreamed of was just around the corner?


The Roosevelt Imperative

The nation had endured more than three years of steadily worsening economic depression by the time the new president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, took office in March 1933. People were desperate and looking for relief in some form, however unconventional it might be. Roosevelt had plenty of ideas along those lines, which the voters must have liked, because they catapulted him into office by a substantial majority over incumbent Herbert Hoover. He had promised a sweeping package of relief measures as a “New Deal” for America and lost no

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