The Pinedale Field Office cultural resources staff is composed of three permanent positions. Duties of these individuals include all aspects of the cultural resources program, including survey, recordation, evaluation and management of BLM's archaeological resources, historic period resources, Native American consultation, paleontological resources, public education efforts, cultural resource database management and curation of federally owned heritage resource assets. The cultural resources staff ensures BLM's compliance with federally mandated laws and regulations such as the National Historic Preservation Act, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and other laws, regulations and policy.
On a daily basis, the cultural resources staff reviews and processes inventory and site evaluation reports generated by cultural resource use permitees that are created in support of Pinedale's robust extractive energy development program. BLM Pinedale permits upwards of 1,000 energy related projects per year and program management includes the management of the database resulting from this workload and the nearly 6,000 professionally recorded cultural resource sites in the field office. Some 500 new sites are recorded each year and Pinedale's sophisticated computer Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping system is used to keep track of the location and distribution of the sites, historic trails and inventory areas.
Archaeological sites compose the majority of the recorded cultural resources in PFO. The earliest of these sites contain Folsom spear points that in other areas have been radiocarbon dated to be 11,000+ years old. Interestingly, energy work in the Jonah Gas Field has identified a complex of sites that are 5500 to 7200 years old, consisting of individual and groups of house pits that represent some of the earliest domestic structures in the Rocky Mountain region (see photos). Another interesting archaeological site type involves rock structures, either "tipi rings" (stone circles that may function as footing stones for skin lodges or tipis), but also including hunting blinds, vision quest structures, linear "drive lines" and circular rock alignments that appear to have ceremonial functions. Many of these sites are important to modern Native Americans. Historic period resources include nineteenth century pioneer settlement, but also include portions of two National Historic Trails, the Lander Trail and the Sublette Cutoff. Managing these Oregon/California Trail segments involves preservation of their historic setting, unencumbered by modern intrusions.
Public Awareness is another aspect of the cultural resource program and the cultural staff is active in this arena. On an annual basis,between ten and fifteen talks, presentations and slide shows are offered to local schools and the public depicting aspects of the archaeology and history of the Pinedale area. Increasingly, BLM's government to government relationship involves consultation with Native Americans, in particular the Eastern Band of the Shoshone. Projects that have the potential to affect sites, locales or areas considered sacred, sensitive or of interest to modern day Native Americans are brought to the attention of the recognized Shoshone representatives and their input is solicited for mitigating any adverse effects to these areas.
Publications/Presentations by PFO Staff or on PFO Resources