How National Grasslands Came To Be
America's prairies experienced dramatic change when thousands of families migrated west, encouraged by a series of "Homestead Acts."
These acts required prospective owners to manage their lands based on farming and grazing practices in the eastern United States, not suited to the arid west.
The results were devastating, both to the prairie and the once hopeful owners. Much of the prairie eroded into wastelands as wind and water ate away the soil. Many families could not survive, abandoning their homesteads and dreams of prosperity.
The government began to buy back damaged lands at $4.40 per acre. The Soil Conservation Service began to control erosion and implement new conservation techniques to recover the prairie.
Prairie Land Precedents
1862 - Homestead Act
Granted 160 acres to one family after 5 years of proven residence.
1909 - Enlarged Homestead Act
Increased the land grant to 360 acres to be cultivated.
1916 - Stockraising Act
Granted 640 acres if the land was stocked with 50 head of livestock.
1933- National Industry Recovery Act
Congress gave the government expanded authority to buy back abandoned and damaged land.
1935 - Emergency Relief Appropriations Act
Congress gave the government expanded authority to buy land.
1937 - Title III of Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act
Assigned these lands to the Secretary of Agriculture, who delegated management to the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). The SCS established erosion control and conservation techniques to improve rangelands.
1935 - Secretary of Agriculture transfers 9 million acres from the SCS to the U.S. Forest Service.
1960 - 3.8 million acres of National Forest is designated as National Grasslands.
Today there are twenty national grasslands, mostly in the Great Plains. The U.S. Forest Service manages National Grasslands for a variety of uses and values.
Erected by Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture • Environment • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1962.
Location. 42° 51.475′ N, 103° 35.045′ W. Marker is near Crawford, Nebraska, in Sioux County. Marker can be reached from
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Africa in Nebraska (here, next to this marker); Landscape in Layers (here, next to this marker); The Innovation of Early Homesteaders (within shouting distance of this marker); Yellow Hand Monument (approx. 8.6 miles away); Battle of Warbonnet Creek Monument (approx. 8.8 miles away); Officers’ Row, 1909 (approx. 14.1 miles away); Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Robinson (approx. 14.2 miles away); Adobe Officers’ Quarters (approx. 14.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Crawford.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 12, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 8, 2021, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 8, 2021, by Connor Olson of Lemmon, South Dakota. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.