Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and the CCCs

Company 270, Camp S-72, Delmar, New York

     Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in Delmar, New York, is located in the Capital District of New York. The facility provides a variety of programs and services that are open to the public. These include guided walks, environmental and natural history demonstrations, workshops on environmental topics and outdoor skills, and workshops for students and teachers off site and on. These take place over nearly four miles of trails which wind through and by a man made pond, forests, fields, orchards, ravines and wooded lots. Fish and wildlife and birds fill the area. Provisions exist for picnics, theater, skiing and hiking. In recognition of the outstanding programming the Center is designated a National Environmental Study Area by the National Park Service.

     Five Rivers is on Game Farm Road in Delmar, New York andmay be reached by phone at 518-475-0291 Monday through Saturday 9:00 Am through 4:30 PM and Sunday 1:00 PM through 5:00 PM, which are the hours of the interpretive center. The grounds are open daily from sunrise to sunset.

     Five Rivers was built from 1933 to 1936 originally as an experimental game farm. The work was done by Civilian Conservation Corps Company 270, Camp S-72 in Delmar, New York. As noted on a plaque on the former Company Administration Building, which is still in use at Five Rivers, Company 270 "assisted State staff in developing an experimental game farm on former Edward Ackerman farm…" That job was immense. Over three years the CCC men's main job was to turn an old fruit farm into what was the State's experimental game farm. It was mainly a game bir operation at the time. Grouse were in decline and no one knew why. The State wanted to experiment to see if grouse could be enhanced through propagation. The CCC men worked the land. They built roadways to bring materials, they built barns, dammed the Vloman Kill in two places and created ponds for water fowl. They did a number of things with the State staff, like erecting outdoor pens. As the sign further notes, "Corps enrollees helped build barracks…erected hatchery and brooder houses, built roadways, put up field pens, helped dam streams and generally prepared site for game propagation. Some of Five Rivers buildings date back to the CCC period more than 60 years ago."

     Small praise, indeed, for a tremendous amount of hard labor, for which the young men received only $5.00 per month, the balance of their pay or twenty five dollars going straight to their families to help them weather the depression. This is the Center's expression of appreciation for a job well done.

     The CCC men of Company 270, like all CCCers performed a great service to the community. Such works were a boost for budding conservationism in America. Five Rivers remains as a shining example of that Environmental legacy.

----- Donald E. Dietz

NACCCA representatives, Left to Right, Carlton Morby, Don Dietz, John Steele, in front of CCC Building of Company 270, Camp S-72, Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, Delmar, New York