The original cedar forest in this area was harvested and milled to produce pencils, fence posts, and cedar plank. This industry depleted the land and area families were left with shallow, rocky soils and sub-marginal lands. State Forester, James O. Hazard, approved the area for a reforestation project in late 1934. The Wilson Cedar Forest Project, later renamed the Lebanon Cedar Forest Project, was approved by President Franklin Roosevelt in September 1935. The goal of the project was to develop a cedar forest through reforestation techniques. The project placed the forest development under government control and provided employment for citizens in the economically depressed area.
The Works Project Administration (WPA) hired local farmers whose land made up the project area. They built roads, installed power lines, and completed boundary surveys. The WPA workers also constructed buildings, cabins, and shelters from the red cedar wood and abundant local limestone rock.