Camp Terry: A Case Study In Civilian Public Service
Although the work at Camp Terry proved interesting, the initial sight of the camp failed to inspire. For those men who had read of CPS camps nestled among the tall pines in sight of lofty mountain peaks, the barren plains of eastern Montana at first generated keen disappointment. “One can view the broad expanse for miles and see only sage and a few scrubby trees: for a lawn we content ourselves with Russian thistles and weeds, both of which are plentiful.” wrote one camper.12 By spring, when the sagebrush reached full bloom and the prairie grass became lush and green, the men began to appreciate the scenic beauty of the area. Several government agencies supervised the variety of tasks performed by the men at Camp Terry. The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR1 planned and supervised the irrigation project. It included the construction of pumping stations to lift 330 cubic feet of water per second from the Yellowstone River 100 feet to the main canal, as well as the construction • of ditches to carry water to the farms supplied. The canal construction involved a complicated series of ditches with orifice turnouts within the lateral systems to control and to measure the amount of water flowing to each farm unit. The main canal and the lateral system utilized inverted siphons to carry the water under highways and across gullies. The leveling of land in preparation for irrigating occurred in many areas where no farms previously had existed. Thus it became necessary to destroy old roads and to construct new roads. The intersection of roads and canals also dictated the construction of many new bridges.'' The BOR utilized approximately 35 percent of the total work force on the project during the CPS program.