Alturas Field Office

Tribal Archaeology Crew assists with National Historic District Nomination

In 2007, the California Indian Forest and Fire Management Council (CIFFMC) and BLM co-sponsored Certified Archaeological Surveyor (CAS) Training for twenty tribal members from six California Tribes. The event was highlighted in a BLM California Newsbytes article (issue #291).

The training resulted in a historic collaboration between the Alturas Field Office and the Pit River Nation, who sent five archaeology crew members to assist with survey and site recordation for a National Register of Historic Places nomination for the proposed Yankee Jim resource district.

The tribal field crew consisted of Sonya Axelrod, Luis Alvarez, Dewey McGarva, Chris Brown and Abe Jacobs from the Pit River Tribe. The crew spent almost two months in the field with BLM archaeologists Cheryl Foster-Curley and Bradley L. Garrett.

The project was a resounding success and has been recognized by BLM California State office director Mike Pool, who will be holding an award ceremony for participants in late October 2007.           

Bradley Garrett show the Pit River Tribe Crew how to record an historic feature                                                    Pit River Tribe Members Sonya Axelrod and Luis Alvarex record a petroglyph panel
   BLM Archaeologist, Bradley Garrett                                                   Crew Members Sonya Axelrod and Luis 
       shows the crew how to record                                                        Alvarez record a petroglyph panel
             an historic feature                                                                             (Photo by Bradley Garrett)
        (Photo by Chris Brown)

  Juniper Harvesting Activities on Cultural Sites

Emily and Lindsey (SCA)
SCA Volunteers Setting up Test Plots

 Unit 1 Plot 2 Before                                                       Unit 1 Plot 2 After
            Unit 1 Plot 2 Before                                                                                          Unit 1 Plot 2 After
  (Photo by Cheryl Foster-Curley)                                                                           (Photo by Bradley Garrett)


The Alturas Field Office is engaged in a study that measures the effects of Juniper Harvesting activities on archaeological sites. Test plots have been established in several locales that will examine what happens to archaeological remains when equipment such as forwarders, shears, chippers, and skidders drive over sites. The above picture shows two SCA interns, Emily Crowe and Lindsey Hudson setting up the test plots. The two photos below show what a test plot looks like before harvest, and then after.  

While the data collection process is still ongoing, preliminary results indicate that effects of juniper harvesting vary greatly depending on the nature of the cultural deposits, the type of equipment used, and environmental conditions such as soil depth and topography.

Given the potential number of acres that will be involved in the Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystem Restoration Project currently being developed by the Alturas Field Office, it is critical that studies of this nature are conducted. Information collected as a result of the study will help archaeologists determine appropriate measures to be undertaken when harvesting activities are proposed on federal lands.

In developing this project, archaeologists Cheryl Foster-Curley and Stephen Horne have consulted with the Pit River Tribe and the Office of Historic Preservation, as well as Gerry Gates of the Modoc National Forest.