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Tree Farm System Collection at the Forest History Society

On June 12, 1941, the nation's first tree farm was dedicated near Montesano, Washington. Owned by the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, the 120,000-acre Clemons Tree Farm was the first in a nationwide movement. In the decades to follow, the American Tree Farm System would expand to 50 states.

Below is a chronology of the development and expansion of the American Tree Farm System. Click on state name links for more information.

<< << Return to American Tree Farm System History and Resources


American Tree Farm System Timeline

1941

June 12 The first official tree farm is dedicated in Montesano, Washington. Washington Governor Arthur B. Langlie delivers the dedicatory address. Owned by the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, the 120,000-acre Clemons Tree Farm was established to demonstrate fire control and reforestation practices.
October 28 The Joint Committee on Forest Conservation meets in Portland, Oregon, to study the feasibility of a "Tree Farm movement." The result is a request to the National Lumber Manufacturers Association (NLMA) to start a nationwide "American Tree Farm League."
November 11 After consideration by the Forest Conservation Committee of the NLMA, the NLMA Board of Directors agrees to undertake a national tree farm program and adopts a resolution defining a "tree farm." American Forest Products Industries (AFPI), a subsidiary of the NLMA, would ultimately assume responsibility for the program.

1942

April 4 Alabama launches a statewide tree farm system with a formal dedication ceremony held in Brewton. Governor Frank M. Dixon is the principal speaker at the ceremony, at which 25 individuals and companies are presented certificates. Emmett N. McCall is certified as the state's first individual tree farmer.
Alabama tree farmer Emmett N. McCall. Image ID#FHS4753

      Emmett N. McCall of Dixonville, Alabama, was the country's first non-industrial, individually certified tree farmer.
June 6 Arkansas formally dedicates a state tree farm program in ceremonies held at Fordyce. Signs and certificates are awarded to 22 landowners, including Governor Homer Adkins, who also served as the principal speaker at the event. John C. Knight is awarded the state's first tree farm certificate.
Arkansas launches tree farm program. Image ID#FHS5790

        1942 Arkansas tree farm program dedication ceremony in Fordyce. John C. Knight, the state's first certified tree farmer, with sign.
September 24 The Western Pine Association formally certifies Weyerhaeuser's Klamath Tree Farm, the first in Oregon. The organization also dedicates the first tree farms in California.

1943

February 16 Washington officially enters the national tree farm system. Clemons Tree Farm is retroactively awarded Tree Farm certificate number one.
September 4 Idaho dedicates its first tree farms.

1944

May 17 North Carolina inaugurates a state tree farm program. Certificates are awarded to ten landowners at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Forestry Association in Raleigh.
June 1 Montana establishes a tree farm program.
July 1 Wisconsin initiates an industrial forest certification program, but the state is not officially enrolled in the tree farm program until June of 1946.
August Mississippi certifies its first tree farms.
October 24 Texas certifies its first 65 tree farms in a celebration at Lufkin held during Texas Forest Conservation Week. Certificate number 1 is awarded to the Texas Long Leaf Lumber Company.
Texas certifies its first 65 tree farms. Image ID#FHS6948

    Texas certifies its first 65 tree farms in a ceremony at the Forest Festival grounds in Lufkin on October 24, 1944.

1946

In early 1946, American Forest Products Industries (AFPI) becomes an independent organization and assumes complete responsibility for the national tree farm program.
June Florida dedicates its first tree farm. Governor Millard Caldwell presents the first certificate to Albert Kuhn, who accepts on behalf of the Weaver-Loughridge Lumber Company.
A June meeting between members of the Wisconsin Forest Industries Information Committee, AFPI officials, and others, leads to the official inclusion of Wisconsin industrial forests in the American Tree Farm program. Industrial forests are limited to ownership of 1,000 acres or more. Six Wisconsin industrial forest properties totaling over 250,000 acres are added to the national tree farm system.
September 16 Ohio certifies the Izaak Walton Association Tree Farm in Cedar Valley as the state's first tree farm.
October 25 New Jersey joins the tree farm movement with the dedication of the Washington Water Company Tree Farm.
November 20 Tennessee becomes the 15th tree farm state as 18 landowners are certified in a ceremony held in Collinwood.
December 7 South Carolina certifies its first tree farms, as certificates and signs are awarded to five landowners.

1947

August 22 New Mexico certifies its first tree farm, 80,000 acres of the Philmont Scout Ranch operated by the Boy Scouts of America.
October 24 Virginia certifies its first twelve tree farm units. Governor William Tuck presents the first certificates at a meeting of Virginia Forests, Inc., in Richmond. The first certificate is awarded to M.M. Jones of Purdy.
October 29 Pennsylvania certifies its first nine units in ceremonies held at the Glatfelter Pulpwood Company Tree Farm near Gettysburg.

1948

May 22 West Virginia becomes the 20th tree farm state with the dedication of the New River Company Tree Farm near Beckley.
July 30 Maryland dedicates its first tree farm, 1,278 acres of forest land in Charles County owned by the Glatfelter Pulpwood Company. Governor William Preston Lane, Jr., presents the certificate to company president P.H. Glatfelter.
October 5 Massachusetts becomes the first New England state to join the American Tree Farm System. William B. Greeley, AFPI Chairman and former U.S. Forest Service Chief, participates in the dedication ceremony held at Athol. The state's first certified tree farm is owned by Robert H. Lawton.
Dedication of first Massachusetts state tree farm owned by Robert Lawton.

 Robert H. Lawton (right) is awarded the first Tree Farm certificate in Massachusetts by Arthur T. Lyman, William B. Greeley, and R.B. Parmenter.
October 6 Georgia joins the American Tree Farm System. E.C. Fancher receives the state's first tree farm certificate in a ceremony at the Valdosta Forest Festival.

1949

June 10 Michigan certifies the state's first 18 tree farmers. Governor G. Mennen Williams presents the certificates in ceremonies held at William Carlson's logging camp near Munising.
September 9 Missouri becomes the 25th state in the tree farm system as three properties are certified in ceremonies held near Eminence. Pioneer Forest, operated by National Distillers Products Corp., is certified as Missouri Tree Farm number one.
Pioneer Tree Farm dedication, Missouri.

  Missouri extension forester L.E. McCormick (left) congratulates Frank C. Kenyon (right), of National Distillers Products Corp., at 1949 dedication.
September 16 Rhode Island launches its tree farm program with the presentation of six certificates by Governor John O. Pastore in ceremonies on Walter D. Kenyon's farm in Hopkinton. The event also includes an address from U.S. Representative John E. Fogarty.
Dedication of first Rhode Island state tree farms.

   U.S. Representative John E. Fogarty speaks to crowd at event launching Rhode Island state tree farm program, September 16, 1949.
November 29 North Dakota joins the tree farm program with certification of 17 landowners. Governor Fred G. Aandahl is the principle speaker at the dedication ceremony held in Bismarck. North Dakota is the first state to certify shelterbelt woodlots.

1950

June 17 Minnesota enters the tree farm system as 76 farms are dedicated in a ceremony in Carlton County. The state's first certificate is awarded to officials of the North Star Council, Boy Scouts of America, owners of the 150-acre Camp Lawrie property.
October 6 New Hampshire begins its tree farm program as ten woodlot owners receive certificates in a ceremony attended by Governor Sherman Adams held at Andorra Forest in Stoddard.

1951

June 23 The 10th anniversary of the Clemons Tree Farm is celebrated in a day-long ceremony held at Montesano. Speakers include Washington Governor Arthur B. Langlie and Oregon Governor Douglas McKay.
October 24 Louisiana certifies the state's first five tree farms in ceremonies held at Urania. William B. Greeley is the event's featured speaker.
Louisiana Tree Farm dedication. Image ID#FHS6445

     Riley C. Melton, one of Louisiana's charter tree farmers, is interviewed at the October 24, 1951, dedication ceremony.
November Colorado, Nevada, and Wyoming join the American Tree Farm System. Colorado's first tree farm is a 3,200-acre tract in Larimer County owned by Broderick Wood Products Co. of Denver. Nevada's first two tree farms are owned by Fibreboard Products Inc. and the Sierra Pacific Power Company. Wyoming's first tree farm is owned by N.A. Swenson in Carbon County.

1952

April 25 South Dakota becomes a tree farm state as 29 woodland owners received certificates in seven simultaneous dedication ceremonies held throughout the state. Governor Sigurd Anderson presents certificates to three landowners in a ceremony on the Homestake Mining Company's tree farm.
Homestake Mining Company Tree Farm dedication. Image ID#FHS6458

  Harlan Walker, Guy N. Bjorge, Gareth Moon, Governor Anderson, and C.A. Polley at April 25, 1952, dedication of Homestake Mining Co. Tree Farm.
October 20 Maine becomes the 35th state to adopt the Tree Farm program. The state's first two certificates are awarded to Samuel B. Condon and Professor R.I. Ashman in ceremonies held at South Penobscot.
Maine's first two Tree Farms dedicated. Image ID#FHS5828

   Presentation ceremony of Maine's first and second tree farm certificates to Samuel B. Condon and R.I. Ashman.

1953

July 1 Arizona enters the American Tree Farm System with the woodlot of William G. Scholz, near the town of Parks, certified as the state's first tree farm.

1954

AFPI, under the leadership of William B. Greeley, drafts and approves a "Principles of the American Tree Farm System." This code establishes a set criteria for tree farm certification.

1955

May 4 Kentucky joins the tree farm system as 19 units are dedicated in a ceremony at Campbellsville. G.L. Rhinehart is awarded the state's certificate number one.
May 30 Iowa becomes a tree farm state with a formal ceremony held at the Meyer family woodlot in Garnavillo, Clayton County. Governor Leo A. Hoegh presents signs and certificates to six landowners.
Governor Leo A. Hoegh speaks to crowd at ceremonies launching Iowa Tree Farm program

   Governor Leo A. Hoegh speaks to crowd at ceremonies launching Iowa Tree Farm program, May 30, 1955.
August 16 Wisconsin expands its state Tree Farm program to include all classes of private ownership with a ceremony on the property of Fred Grunwald, Jr., in Waupaca County. Prior to the expansion, Wisconsin's program was restricted to industrial ownerships.
October 14 Illinois enters the tree farm system with a dedication at Sinnissippi Forest. Lieutenant Governor John Chapman awards certificates to 17 charter members.
October Utah becomes the final western state to enter the tree farm program. A woodlot owned by Sid Pace near the Colorado state line is certified as the state's first tree farm.

1956

May 12 Vermont joins the American Tree Farm System as ten landowners receive certificates in ceremonies held on the Billings Farm near Woodstock.
May 26 Connecticut launches its tree farm program at Great Pond Forest, West Simsbury. Nine landowners are awarded tree farm certificates.
June 30 New York joins the national system with ceremonies held near Speculator, in the Adirondacks. Thirty-eight timberland owners are certified as charter members.
Governor Leo A. Hoegh speaks to crowd at ceremonies launching Iowa Tree Farm program

  Ceremony launching New York Tree Farm program on land of International Paper Co. near Speculator, in the Adirondacks, June 30, 1956.
August 23 Indiana becomes a tree farm state as 29 landowners are certified in ceremonies held on the C.U. Gramelspacher farm near Jasper.

1957

June Oklahoma enters the national system as over 900,000 acres of commercial forest land become part of the state's new tree farm program. Certificates are awarded to 13 woodland owners during the fifth annual Oklahoma Forest Festival at Broken Bow.

1958

December Delaware joins the American Tree Farm System.

1959

June Nebraska enrolls in the American Tree Farm System following the formation of the Nebraska Forest Industries Committee in Lincoln.

1960

May 18 The American Tree Farm System's 50 millionth acre is dedicated in a ceremony on Kimbrell Cunningham's tree farm in Alabama.
50 millionth tree farm acre. Image ID#FHS4754

  Kimbrell Cunningham, owner of the 50 millionth tree farm acre, and AFPI District Manager Harry Crown, view the sign on Cunningham's property.

1963

September 27 Kansas becomes the 48th tree farm state as certificates are presented to the state's first 14 tree farmers in a ceremony held on the Kansas Gas and Electric Company Tree Farm near Parsons. The ceremony includes the driving of a "green spike" to signify the spread of the tree farm system across the continental U.S.

1966

May 21 The Clemons Tree Farm is rededicated as over 2,500 people gather in Montesano to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Tree Farm movement. Former Washington Governor Arthur B. Langlie delivers his final public address at the rededication ceremony.
Tree Farm System 25th Anniversary

1974

Alaska joins the American Tree Farm System.

1975

Hawaii certifies two properties and becomes the 50th state to join the American Tree Farm System.

1976

The Tree Farm name and logo are registered as trademarks. Florida's Fred Barber is awarded as the first National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year.

1980

September 24 The nation's 40,000th Tree Farm certificate is awarded to Vermont Tree Farmer Jim Dodge in a ceremony led by Vermont Governor Richard A. Snelling.
Nation's 40,000th tree farm. Image ID# FHS7116

  Vermont Governor Richard A. Snelling (center) presents nation's 40,000th Tree Farm certificate to Jim Dodge (right) and family.

1981

American Tree Farmer magazine is launched.

1991

June 3 A 50th anniversary celebration is held in Montesano to commemorate the 1941 founding of the Clemons Tree Farm. Washington Senator Slade Gorton delivers the keynote address. Nationwide, the 50th anniversary year of tree farming is celebrated under the theme, "Fifty Years of Growing Trees . . . And More Than Trees."
Tree Farm System 50th Anniversary

1994

November The first annual National Tree Farmer Convention is held in Williamsburg, Virginia.

2008

August ATFS receives international recognition and approval by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC), the world's largest forest certification system.

2012

July The Weyerhaeuser Company announces a supply chain preference for certified material sourced from the American Tree Farm System.

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