Caddo/LBJ National GrasslandsLeave review
About Caddo/LBJ National Grasslands
Campgrounds in Caddo/LBJ
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History of Caddo/LBJ National Grasslands
Lyndon B. Johnson National Grassland (LBJ), of the Caddo-Lyndon B. Johnson National Grasslands, is the most southernly of the national grasslands and has a rich history. The land we now call LBJ was the home of great herds of bison, antelope, deer, and elk and a favored hunting ground of the Native people. The Caddo Indians, the largest Indian culture in Northeast Texas, were the first cultivators of this land. They were forced out around the mid-1700s by the more aggressive Apache and Comanche people. The European settlers, primarily stockmen, moved into the area in the 1800s with the farmers following in the early 1900s. The land has seen great cattle drives, with an estimated ten million head of cattle driven northward, and the advent of barbed wire. Cattle, barbed wire, and farming brought major changes to the land.
The areas now designated as "grasslands" were settled in the 1800s under a variety of "Homestead Acts" that opened the land to people, generally farmers, and helped to settle the west. A prolonged period of drought in the late 1920s into the 1930s caused some homesteads on sub-marginal farmland (a location receiving 15 or less inches of annual moisture) to literally dry up and blow away. During this time, Congress established the Land Utilization Program (LUP) which bought homesteads from bankrupt private owners and returned it to public land status. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) helped to stabilize the eroding soil by re-seeding it and applying other conservation techniques. In the 1950s, the LUP holdings were assigned to the USDA Forest Service which was tasked with management of these sub-marginal lands. Over the years the Forest Service has established some twenty National Grasslands. "The designation of the area as National Grassland is not a description of the area as much as a statement of policy and effort to restore the area to a multiple of uses and benefits."