This Day in Oklahoma History


18 March

First Shelterbelt in the United States

During the 1930s severe drought plagued the states in the great plains and deepened the depression. High winds caused dust storms which blackened the sky. In 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt initiated a program to help stabilize the blowing soil and put people to work. His prairie states forestry project envisioned planting wide belts of trees from North Dakota to Texas to protect cropland and reduce damage to the environment. The Nation's first shelterbelt was planted on the H.E. Curtis farm near Mangum in Greer county, OK. Oklahoma's first state forester George R. Phillips planted the first tree on Mar. 18, 1935 from 1935 to 1942, 223 million trees were planted in 18,599 miles of shelter belts throughout the plains states with 2,996 miles in Oklahoma. The nation's number one shelterbelt is located files miles east and one mile north. Like many of the original shelterbelts and the narrower windbreaks planted since then, it continues to provide conservation benefits to this day. more...

Monday, March 18, 1935

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