Franklin Roosevelt State Park


Patricia Truslow, Contributor

| updated

Copy Link Code

franklin roosevelt state parkSeveral memorials of various kinds have been erected to honor President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but none perhaps represent his love of nature and his desire to protect it more than two state parks that bear his name. One is located in his state of birth, the other in the state of his death.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park in Yorktown, New York was formerly known as Mohansic State Park, the site of a former state hospital. In 1923, the park acreage was used to grow spruce, pine and evergreen seedlings that were used for transplanting in other state parks. When Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a government program that hired the unemployed during the Great Depression, a camp for such workers was established at Mohansic.

All of the men who worked in Mohansic Park camp were veterans of World War I, who without the opportunity the CCC offered them would have been jobless and probably homeless, too. They proudly called themselves "Company 2218V." As a man and as a president, Roosevelt had great respect for America's natural resources and believed that the federal government should have programs and funding that cared for and protected them. In 1982, the park name was changed to The Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park in recognition of Roosevelt's undying respect for the forest and its reforestation.

Pine Mountain, Georgia is the benefactor of the other Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, located very close to the Roosevelt's "Little White House" in Warm Springs. This park was originally established as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, another of President Roosevelt's government programs that provided employment to the jobless during the Great Depression. The park still offers camping, a Liberty Bell-shaped swimming pool and some of the scenic vistas that Roosevelt always enjoyed. Additionally, Lake Delano and historic Dowdell's Knob are located within the park's several hundred acres. Dowdell's Knob was a particularly favorite spot for picnics and quiet thought for FDR; a statue of him stands at this location overlooking Lake Delano and the forests he cherished; his charcoal grill remains at the site where he always cooked his own food, happy to be in the presence of the surrounding beauty.

Franklin Roosevelt was a lover of the outdoors, these two state parks honor that characteristic. As he once remarked in a speech about environmental issues: "A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people." Both these parks are a tribute to the man who sought to protect them.