Cultural Resource Areas in the Pocatello Field Office
|Bear River Corridor|
The Bear River served as the wintering grounds for the Northwestern Band of Shoshone. In January 1863 a Shoshone camp on the river near present day Preston was the site of a large Indian massacre. Approximately 250 Indians were killed in revenge for several murders in the Cache Valley. This site is on private land, and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes are working to have it protected from future development. It is likely that there are many campsites along the river corridor, but relatively little land is under BLM jurisdiction.
|Big Hill/Thomas Fork Valley||Multiple Oregon Trail branches in this area are associated with the challenge of crossing the Thomas Fork of the Bear River and the ascent of Big Hill and the Sheep Creek Hills. There were also Native American villages, early Mormon settlements and a short line railroad. Much of the landscape retains the historic setting of the area.|
|Blackfoot River Watershed|
Ongoing work around the Blackfoot Reservoir begun in the 1970s has identified about 50 prehistoric sites, some dating to 7,000 years ago. Obsidian from these sites comes from Malad, Chesterfield and Yellowstone sources.
The Lander Road, an alternate route on the Oregon Trail, parallels the river for several miles before turning west toward Fort Hall. Other historic sites are associated with settlements along the river that were abandoned during the Depression.
|Curlew Grassland/Badger Hole Spring Area|
Many springs on public lands in this region have associated cultural resources visible on the ground surface. A bison kill site at Rock Springs on the Curlew National Grassland has been excavated. There are also many sites associated with historic-era agriculture and ranching, including the Van Komen Homestead ACEC and Juniper Town site ACEC. Homestead ruins, and their associated outbuildings and refuse deposits are the most common type of site.
|Elkhorn Mountain/Malad Obsidian Source||This important regional stone tool material source is located on the Caribou National Forest, but there are many associated lithic reduction sites on adjacent BLM-managed public land.|
|Portneuf River Corridor/Chesterfield to Pocatello|
The Portneuf River corridor includes campsites along its entire length and the petroglyphs and lithic scatters of the Indian Rocks ACEC. Other prehistoric resources are present along Marsh Creek, Bell Marsh Creek and Goodenough Creek. An obsidian source near Chesterfield and the hot springs at present day Lava Hot Springs were also used by native inhabitants.
During historic times, the Oregon Trail passed northward through the Portneuf Valley to Ross Fork and Fort Hall. Chesterfield (no longer a town) was founded here in the 1880s and is now a National Historic District of 40 structures maintained by a private foundation. Other historic resources are located in Blackrock Canyon northeast of Portneuf. Some historic mining activity took place in the hills around Pocatello most notably at the Fort Hall and Moonlight Mountain mines. Although none of these mines were very productive, there are numerous mining sites including adits, cabins, tailing piles and refuse scatters.
|Snake River/Massacre Rocks|
The northern boundary of the Field Office is the Snake River. On the south side of the river lies Massacre Rocks, which includes several associated prehistoric and historic sites. The area is named for an incident between Indians and Euro-americans that resulted in the death of at least nine people. Oregon Trail segments and Register Rock are also in the area. On the north side of the river, just outside of the Field Office area is Cedar Field, with hundreds of prehistoric sites and of great religious significance to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.