Summary Table | Historic Trails Map
The lands of southeastern Idaho in the Pocatello Field Office have a long, rich history that begins with prehistoric use of the area. The region is laden with cultural resources that show how the lands were utilized at various times in the past.
Cultural resources are evidence of human activity, occupation, or use that portray significant history and culture. Resources are divided into three groups; prehistoric, historic and traditional resources. These consist of materials, structures and natural areas used, built or modified before or after the presence of Euro-Americans. Prehistoric and historic sites include rock art, campsites, rock shelters, scatters of stone tool-making debris, homesteads, mining sites, abandoned communities and agricultural features. Traditional sites include places associated with the cultural practices or beliefs rooted in a community’s history. Examples include places used for ceremonies and worship, and established locations used for hunting and fishing.
The Pocatello Field Office has nearly a thousand recorded cultural resource sites on BLM-managed public lands. Archaeological research indicates that initial occupation of the region originated 10-12,000 years ago by the Native American Indians. Other sites date from the late 18th and early 19th centuries and reflect the development of transportation, fur trapping, mining, agriculture, and settlement of this region by the Euro-Americans.
The majority of prehistoric sites include lithic scatters (chipped stone flakes remaining from the making of stone tools), quarry sites, rock shelters, rock structures, petroglyphs and a few pictographs. One of the important prehistoric sites of the region is the Indian Rocks area, located between the Portneuf River and Marsh Creek. The BLM has designated it an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) to recognize and protect the unique cultural resource values of the lithic rock found there.
Portions of three emigrant trails that are part of the National Historic Trail System run through the Field Office: the Lander Trail, the Oregon Trail, and the Hudspeth Cutoff for the California Trail. The Oregon Trail passed northward through the Portneuf Valley to Ross Fork and Fort Hall. The abandoned community of Chesterfield was founded here in the 1880s and is now a National Historic District of 40 structures maintained by a private foundation. Register Rock, located near American Falls, contains the carved names of emigrants who passed on the Oregon Trail.
Pocatello Field Office | 4350 Cliffs Drive | Pocatello, ID 83204
208-478-6340 | Fax: 208-478-6376 | Office hours: 7:45am - 4:30pm,