Elko Field Office
Print Page

DATE: January 8, 2007
CONTACT: Mike Brown (775) 753-0386
e-mail: Mike_Brown@nv.blm.gov


The 100th day of the 510-day construction contract was reached on January 2, 2007.
“Things were slow over the holidays and with the bad weather,” said Dennis Petersen, California Trail Center Construction Project Inspector. “But construction is continuing. The specialty concrete firm from Boise – Spires Concrete Specialties – is nearing completion. Their final pours for all the footings and foundations are scheduled for the week of January 15th. To date, they have poured 230 cubic yards or about 15 percent of the total concrete required for the job.”

Petersen continued, “Parker Heating, the plumbing and heating contractor, is scheduled to
complete the under-floor drain piping this week. West Coast Construction, the general contractor has completed the rough grading of the entire site and is now backfilling the completed foundations.”

When completed, the Trail Center will occupy an 11-acre footprint and will include 16,000 square feet in the main facility and a similar-sized interpretive plaza east of the building. Construction is scheduled to be completed in early 2008.

The Swiss Emigrant and the “Bear”
- by Mike Brown

The landscape, vegetation, and animals of the American West were a never-ending source of wonder and surprise to most travelers from the eastern United States in the middle of the 19th century. But to the European emigrants, the new things they encountered and experienced almost every day were even more foreign – no pun intended.

One such emigrant was Heinrich Lienhard. Lienhard and his four traveling companions were all from Switzerland, and on their way to California.

On July 27, 1846, just outside of Fort Bridger (in what is now Wyoming) at the start of the Hastings Cutoff, they ran into Hastings himself on the banks of the Bear River and he spent the night w/ them. Lienhard described these events in his journal:

“The weather remained almost the same for several days – the mornings were cool, and during the day the sun shone; but it was windy. On the morning of the 28th, as I was about to drive the beasts to the wagons, I surprised in the bushes of the ravine a short-legged animal, which I first took for a young gray bear.

“I had with me no other weapon than my ordinary walking stick; yet I did not want the animal to escape. I immediately followed him, and in the pursuit gave him several hard blows with my stick. Then he suddenly turned around, took a defensive position, displaying to me a mouthful of beautiful, sharp teeth, with which he tried his best to get at my legs. He attacked me with such vigor that for some time I thought he would succeed in getting hold of me. I hit the animal on the head as quickly as I could.

“He must have become aware of a small hole in the ground toward which he tried to back up and which he succeeded in reaching. But it was a shallow hole, and the head of the animal still stuck out. This gave me my chance. After two, three vigorous blows over his eyes, he was dead. I had knocked out one of his eyes completely. The animal turned out to be not a young gray bear but a fine fat badger. His flesh resembled that of bear and he was a welcome treat to all of us.”
Pound for pound, probably the most vicious animal in America, Lienhard was lucky he didn’t get his leg ripped off and eaten by the badger! Or even worse. You see, the group of emigrants following the same trail just 4 or 5 days behind Lienhard - was the Donner Party!

From Heinrich Lienhard’s From St. Louis to Sutter’s Fort, 1846


Last updated: 03-27-2015