Shelter Belt near Arkansas River in Cimarron KS
Shelterbelts were natural windbreaks planted to protect land from the dust storms of the 1930s. The Great Plains Shelterbelts spans several states. The agency that started the project is unknown to the Living New Deal, but the project was transferred to the Works Progress Administration because of a dispute over the source of funding.
Today, very few of the Depression-era shelterbelts are left, but a few trees remain of the shelterbelt built on the McFarland Ranch.
McFarland Ranch is a private property southwest of Cimarron. The ranch is south of the Arkansas River and the trees were originally irrigated by the Arkansas River (now dry). Mr. W. Wiley McFarland has provided the Living New Deal with an account of the construction of the shelterbelts during the New Deal era. Robert W. McFarland and William R. McFarland were running the ranch when the projects occurred. Mr. W. Wiley McFarland, aged 94 at the time of this publication, remembers the project being completed in 1937 or 1938.
Personal account of Mr. W. Wiley McFarland.
Wikipedia, Great Plains Shelterbelt (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Plains_Shelterbelt), accessed Aug. 2022.
Jacksonian March 30, 1939, August 24, 1939.
"Fighting the Drouth" Popular Mechanics, October 1934.
Project originally submitted by Barbara Pendleton on August 15, 2022.
Additional contributions by Sarah McFarland.
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