BLM issues decision to protect Idaho’s American Falls Archaeological District cultural resources



BLM Office:

Twin Falls District Office

Media Contact:

Heather Tiel-Nelson

TWIN FALLS, Idaho—In order to protect nationally significant Tribal and cultural resources dating back thousands of years, the Bureau of Land Management issued a decision today to close the American Falls Archaeological District and a portion of the Lake Channel area to rock climbing and off-highway vehicle use in Power County, Idaho.

Increased use of the Archaeological District and Lake Channel area for bolted rock climbing and off-highway vehicle use during the last few decades has caused significant damage to cultural resource sites. In the early 2000s, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes asserted and the Idaho State Historic Preservation Officer agreed that this violated the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.

The area will remain open for compatible recreation uses, including big game and waterfowl hunting, fishing, horseback riding, camping and hiking. More than 300 routes remain available to rock climbers on adjacent state lands and public lands in the Lake Channel area. Off-road enthusiasts will retain motorized opportunities on public lands immediately north of the Archaeological District.

The Shoshone, Bannock and Paiute peoples used the area as a winter campsite for thousands of years, leaving a long archaeological record that became the basis for the area’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. This decision aligns with the Department of the Interior priority of strengthening government-to-government relationships with sovereign Tribal nations and honors the federal trust responsibility to protect cultural and sacred values on public lands.

The BLM issued a Record of Decision based on the analysis provided in the Cedar Fields Plan Amendment and Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Monument Resource Management Plan. Those and other documents are available at BLM National NEPA Register.

For additional information, please contact Terri Dobis at

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.