CHURN DRILL - COLDFOOT, ALASKA

We hope you’ve been reading all the great American Guide Week posts that the BLM’s My Public Lands tumblr has posted. From BLM Alaska’s Central Yukon Field Office, we got this great dispatch on a piece of history brought back to life for Field Assignment #3:

A Relic of Alaska’s Mining Past Roars to Life 

In 2009, miners who were cleaning up an old mining claim near Coldfoot, Alaska, donated a 1920s-era churn drill to the Bureau of Land Management. The drill, rusted and overgrown with willows, might not have looked impressive to many, but BLM Central Yukon Field Office Archaeologist Bill Hedman found that it was surprisingly intact. 

In the early 20th century, gas-powered churn drills like this one had offered Alaska placer miners a major technological advance, allowing them to dig a test hole through frozen gravel much more quickly and efficiently than with picks and shovels. Hedman decided this piece of Alaska mining history warranted some fixing up… 

By 2011, Hedman had arranged to have the drill transported 10 miles down a creek and then 250 miles down the Dalton Highway to Fairbanks. There, machinist and antique engine expert John Howe worked off and on for the next two years to reconstruct the drill, fabricating new parts when necessary. For example, the drill needed a left lay rope to keep the tooling taut against the drop and pull of the hoist. Such ropes are now rare, so Howe had to make his own. He also milled and cured the Douglas fir timbers on which the rest is now mounted. 

In September, Howe fired up the churn drill for the first time in many decades, possibly since the 1960s or 1970s. The past roared back to life as the LeRoi 2-cylinder engine caught quickly. Howe adjusted a lever, and various wheels and belts spun and jiggled. He pulled another lever, and the chisel bit rose and dropped to the ground over and over, just as it had for the early miners. The magic moment was captured in this two-minute video: http://bit.ly/HuSZmd. 

Next spring, the churn drill will be fired up again to enjoy a brief moment in the Fairbanks spotlight before joining a replica prospector’s cabin and other artifacts in an outdoor gold-mining display that the BLM is constructing near the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot. Miners in both the Coldfoot area and Fairbanks have been active supporters of the new exhibit, which is scheduled to open in a few years. 

Story and photos by: Bill Hedman and Lisa Shon Jodwalis, Central Yukon Field Office, BLM Alaska 

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MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.

PIONEER HISTORIC BYWAY - FRANKLIN AND CARIBOU COUNTIES, IDAHO
Amy Lapp, Archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management’s Pocatello Field Office sends along a wonderful guide to a historic highway in southeast Idaho for Field Assignment #1 - Topography and Field Assignment #5 - National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks. Get ready for historic mining sites, high desert terrain and an ice cave!

Idaho’s oldest town, Native American heritage, the start of the Bonneville Flood, an ice cave, emigrant trails, historic settlements, a captive geyser, a natural spring of soda water, wetlands, and historic mining. These are some of the sites and stories you will encounter on a trip along the Pioneer Historic Byway.
I’m excited to join in American Guide Week and highlight some sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway located in southeast Idaho. The byway begins in Franklin, Idaho, the oldest town in Idaho near the Utah border, and ends at the Idaho and Wyoming border near Freedom, Wyoming.  Here you can step back in time and learn more about history while taking in the high desert, mountains, geologic features and the flora and fauna that can be found throughout.
I would like to highlight three sites along the byway that are located on public lands and are free for the public to visit and enjoy.
Last Chance Canal
Local settlers encountered a problem. They had to figure out how to get water to both sides of the Gem Valley in order to avoid losing their water rights. From this predicament the name Last Chance Canal Company was born. Settlers were successful in 1902, but their wooden flumes caused endless trouble. To solve this problem they built a 1,800 foot tunnel through solid lava rock in 1916. Much of this work was done with hand tools. Standing at the end of this tunnel today it’s hard to imagine what it would have been like to engineer something that would continue to be in use 100 years later. I don’t know if I would be up to the task, but I do like the view from here.
Sheep Rock- Oregon California National Historic Trail
Sheep Rock towers 1200 feet above the waters of the Bear River. The Bear River starts its course in the Uinta Mountains of eastern Utah, but at Sheep Rock it makes a sudden U-turn and heads south to the Great Salt Lake. It wasn’t always like this. Basaltic volcanic eruptions blocked the Bear River from draining into the Snake River System and sent the river southward back to Utah.
How did it get its name? Trappers and mountain men in the early 1830’s, told about a sizeable flock of bighorn mountain sheep that occupied Sheep Rock’s forested, rocky ridge throughout the year. Sheep Rock marked the junction of the main route of the Oregon-California Trail and Hudspeth’s Cutoff, a shortcut. It was often mentioned in emigrant journals.
I still see Sheep Rock, also known as Soda Point, as a landmark when I travel these roads today as it marks the junction of two highways- Idaho 34 and U.S. 30. I also enjoy visiting the site to read the many interpretive signs and enjoy the view of the Bear River.
Formation Springs
This preserve was established by the Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management. Formation Springs features crystal pools and a wetland complex at the base of Aspen Mountain. These pools are formed by cold springs that feed into them and deposit high concentrations of travertine (calcium carbonate) which gives the area its unique geology. It is a refuge for waterfowl, deer, and elk. Another interesting feature is Formation Cave. The cave is almost 10 feet tall at the entrance and 200 feet long.
I enjoy exploring this area, the water is clear and beautiful, and it’s a great place for birdwatching. The cave is fun to explore so be sure to bring a flashlight. It can be a little difficult to find the entrance because it just looks like a hole in the ground so that is an adventure all in itself.
Please check out the other sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway at http://www.pioneerhistoricbyway.org/ and enjoy your journey! 

* * *
MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
PIONEER HISTORIC BYWAY - FRANKLIN AND CARIBOU COUNTIES, IDAHO
Amy Lapp, Archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management’s Pocatello Field Office sends along a wonderful guide to a historic highway in southeast Idaho for Field Assignment #1 - Topography and Field Assignment #5 - National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks. Get ready for historic mining sites, high desert terrain and an ice cave!

Idaho’s oldest town, Native American heritage, the start of the Bonneville Flood, an ice cave, emigrant trails, historic settlements, a captive geyser, a natural spring of soda water, wetlands, and historic mining. These are some of the sites and stories you will encounter on a trip along the Pioneer Historic Byway.
I’m excited to join in American Guide Week and highlight some sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway located in southeast Idaho. The byway begins in Franklin, Idaho, the oldest town in Idaho near the Utah border, and ends at the Idaho and Wyoming border near Freedom, Wyoming.  Here you can step back in time and learn more about history while taking in the high desert, mountains, geologic features and the flora and fauna that can be found throughout.
I would like to highlight three sites along the byway that are located on public lands and are free for the public to visit and enjoy.
Last Chance Canal
Local settlers encountered a problem. They had to figure out how to get water to both sides of the Gem Valley in order to avoid losing their water rights. From this predicament the name Last Chance Canal Company was born. Settlers were successful in 1902, but their wooden flumes caused endless trouble. To solve this problem they built a 1,800 foot tunnel through solid lava rock in 1916. Much of this work was done with hand tools. Standing at the end of this tunnel today it’s hard to imagine what it would have been like to engineer something that would continue to be in use 100 years later. I don’t know if I would be up to the task, but I do like the view from here.
Sheep Rock- Oregon California National Historic Trail
Sheep Rock towers 1200 feet above the waters of the Bear River. The Bear River starts its course in the Uinta Mountains of eastern Utah, but at Sheep Rock it makes a sudden U-turn and heads south to the Great Salt Lake. It wasn’t always like this. Basaltic volcanic eruptions blocked the Bear River from draining into the Snake River System and sent the river southward back to Utah.
How did it get its name? Trappers and mountain men in the early 1830’s, told about a sizeable flock of bighorn mountain sheep that occupied Sheep Rock’s forested, rocky ridge throughout the year. Sheep Rock marked the junction of the main route of the Oregon-California Trail and Hudspeth’s Cutoff, a shortcut. It was often mentioned in emigrant journals.
I still see Sheep Rock, also known as Soda Point, as a landmark when I travel these roads today as it marks the junction of two highways- Idaho 34 and U.S. 30. I also enjoy visiting the site to read the many interpretive signs and enjoy the view of the Bear River.
Formation Springs
This preserve was established by the Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management. Formation Springs features crystal pools and a wetland complex at the base of Aspen Mountain. These pools are formed by cold springs that feed into them and deposit high concentrations of travertine (calcium carbonate) which gives the area its unique geology. It is a refuge for waterfowl, deer, and elk. Another interesting feature is Formation Cave. The cave is almost 10 feet tall at the entrance and 200 feet long.
I enjoy exploring this area, the water is clear and beautiful, and it’s a great place for birdwatching. The cave is fun to explore so be sure to bring a flashlight. It can be a little difficult to find the entrance because it just looks like a hole in the ground so that is an adventure all in itself.
Please check out the other sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway at http://www.pioneerhistoricbyway.org/ and enjoy your journey! 

* * *
MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
PIONEER HISTORIC BYWAY - FRANKLIN AND CARIBOU COUNTIES, IDAHO
Amy Lapp, Archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management’s Pocatello Field Office sends along a wonderful guide to a historic highway in southeast Idaho for Field Assignment #1 - Topography and Field Assignment #5 - National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks. Get ready for historic mining sites, high desert terrain and an ice cave!

Idaho’s oldest town, Native American heritage, the start of the Bonneville Flood, an ice cave, emigrant trails, historic settlements, a captive geyser, a natural spring of soda water, wetlands, and historic mining. These are some of the sites and stories you will encounter on a trip along the Pioneer Historic Byway.
I’m excited to join in American Guide Week and highlight some sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway located in southeast Idaho. The byway begins in Franklin, Idaho, the oldest town in Idaho near the Utah border, and ends at the Idaho and Wyoming border near Freedom, Wyoming.  Here you can step back in time and learn more about history while taking in the high desert, mountains, geologic features and the flora and fauna that can be found throughout.
I would like to highlight three sites along the byway that are located on public lands and are free for the public to visit and enjoy.
Last Chance Canal
Local settlers encountered a problem. They had to figure out how to get water to both sides of the Gem Valley in order to avoid losing their water rights. From this predicament the name Last Chance Canal Company was born. Settlers were successful in 1902, but their wooden flumes caused endless trouble. To solve this problem they built a 1,800 foot tunnel through solid lava rock in 1916. Much of this work was done with hand tools. Standing at the end of this tunnel today it’s hard to imagine what it would have been like to engineer something that would continue to be in use 100 years later. I don’t know if I would be up to the task, but I do like the view from here.
Sheep Rock- Oregon California National Historic Trail
Sheep Rock towers 1200 feet above the waters of the Bear River. The Bear River starts its course in the Uinta Mountains of eastern Utah, but at Sheep Rock it makes a sudden U-turn and heads south to the Great Salt Lake. It wasn’t always like this. Basaltic volcanic eruptions blocked the Bear River from draining into the Snake River System and sent the river southward back to Utah.
How did it get its name? Trappers and mountain men in the early 1830’s, told about a sizeable flock of bighorn mountain sheep that occupied Sheep Rock’s forested, rocky ridge throughout the year. Sheep Rock marked the junction of the main route of the Oregon-California Trail and Hudspeth’s Cutoff, a shortcut. It was often mentioned in emigrant journals.
I still see Sheep Rock, also known as Soda Point, as a landmark when I travel these roads today as it marks the junction of two highways- Idaho 34 and U.S. 30. I also enjoy visiting the site to read the many interpretive signs and enjoy the view of the Bear River.
Formation Springs
This preserve was established by the Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management. Formation Springs features crystal pools and a wetland complex at the base of Aspen Mountain. These pools are formed by cold springs that feed into them and deposit high concentrations of travertine (calcium carbonate) which gives the area its unique geology. It is a refuge for waterfowl, deer, and elk. Another interesting feature is Formation Cave. The cave is almost 10 feet tall at the entrance and 200 feet long.
I enjoy exploring this area, the water is clear and beautiful, and it’s a great place for birdwatching. The cave is fun to explore so be sure to bring a flashlight. It can be a little difficult to find the entrance because it just looks like a hole in the ground so that is an adventure all in itself.
Please check out the other sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway at http://www.pioneerhistoricbyway.org/ and enjoy your journey! 

* * *
MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
PIONEER HISTORIC BYWAY - FRANKLIN AND CARIBOU COUNTIES, IDAHO
Amy Lapp, Archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management’s Pocatello Field Office sends along a wonderful guide to a historic highway in southeast Idaho for Field Assignment #1 - Topography and Field Assignment #5 - National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks. Get ready for historic mining sites, high desert terrain and an ice cave!

Idaho’s oldest town, Native American heritage, the start of the Bonneville Flood, an ice cave, emigrant trails, historic settlements, a captive geyser, a natural spring of soda water, wetlands, and historic mining. These are some of the sites and stories you will encounter on a trip along the Pioneer Historic Byway.
I’m excited to join in American Guide Week and highlight some sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway located in southeast Idaho. The byway begins in Franklin, Idaho, the oldest town in Idaho near the Utah border, and ends at the Idaho and Wyoming border near Freedom, Wyoming.  Here you can step back in time and learn more about history while taking in the high desert, mountains, geologic features and the flora and fauna that can be found throughout.
I would like to highlight three sites along the byway that are located on public lands and are free for the public to visit and enjoy.
Last Chance Canal
Local settlers encountered a problem. They had to figure out how to get water to both sides of the Gem Valley in order to avoid losing their water rights. From this predicament the name Last Chance Canal Company was born. Settlers were successful in 1902, but their wooden flumes caused endless trouble. To solve this problem they built a 1,800 foot tunnel through solid lava rock in 1916. Much of this work was done with hand tools. Standing at the end of this tunnel today it’s hard to imagine what it would have been like to engineer something that would continue to be in use 100 years later. I don’t know if I would be up to the task, but I do like the view from here.
Sheep Rock- Oregon California National Historic Trail
Sheep Rock towers 1200 feet above the waters of the Bear River. The Bear River starts its course in the Uinta Mountains of eastern Utah, but at Sheep Rock it makes a sudden U-turn and heads south to the Great Salt Lake. It wasn’t always like this. Basaltic volcanic eruptions blocked the Bear River from draining into the Snake River System and sent the river southward back to Utah.
How did it get its name? Trappers and mountain men in the early 1830’s, told about a sizeable flock of bighorn mountain sheep that occupied Sheep Rock’s forested, rocky ridge throughout the year. Sheep Rock marked the junction of the main route of the Oregon-California Trail and Hudspeth’s Cutoff, a shortcut. It was often mentioned in emigrant journals.
I still see Sheep Rock, also known as Soda Point, as a landmark when I travel these roads today as it marks the junction of two highways- Idaho 34 and U.S. 30. I also enjoy visiting the site to read the many interpretive signs and enjoy the view of the Bear River.
Formation Springs
This preserve was established by the Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management. Formation Springs features crystal pools and a wetland complex at the base of Aspen Mountain. These pools are formed by cold springs that feed into them and deposit high concentrations of travertine (calcium carbonate) which gives the area its unique geology. It is a refuge for waterfowl, deer, and elk. Another interesting feature is Formation Cave. The cave is almost 10 feet tall at the entrance and 200 feet long.
I enjoy exploring this area, the water is clear and beautiful, and it’s a great place for birdwatching. The cave is fun to explore so be sure to bring a flashlight. It can be a little difficult to find the entrance because it just looks like a hole in the ground so that is an adventure all in itself.
Please check out the other sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway at http://www.pioneerhistoricbyway.org/ and enjoy your journey! 

* * *
MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
PIONEER HISTORIC BYWAY - FRANKLIN AND CARIBOU COUNTIES, IDAHO
Amy Lapp, Archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management’s Pocatello Field Office sends along a wonderful guide to a historic highway in southeast Idaho for Field Assignment #1 - Topography and Field Assignment #5 - National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks. Get ready for historic mining sites, high desert terrain and an ice cave!

Idaho’s oldest town, Native American heritage, the start of the Bonneville Flood, an ice cave, emigrant trails, historic settlements, a captive geyser, a natural spring of soda water, wetlands, and historic mining. These are some of the sites and stories you will encounter on a trip along the Pioneer Historic Byway.
I’m excited to join in American Guide Week and highlight some sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway located in southeast Idaho. The byway begins in Franklin, Idaho, the oldest town in Idaho near the Utah border, and ends at the Idaho and Wyoming border near Freedom, Wyoming.  Here you can step back in time and learn more about history while taking in the high desert, mountains, geologic features and the flora and fauna that can be found throughout.
I would like to highlight three sites along the byway that are located on public lands and are free for the public to visit and enjoy.
Last Chance Canal
Local settlers encountered a problem. They had to figure out how to get water to both sides of the Gem Valley in order to avoid losing their water rights. From this predicament the name Last Chance Canal Company was born. Settlers were successful in 1902, but their wooden flumes caused endless trouble. To solve this problem they built a 1,800 foot tunnel through solid lava rock in 1916. Much of this work was done with hand tools. Standing at the end of this tunnel today it’s hard to imagine what it would have been like to engineer something that would continue to be in use 100 years later. I don’t know if I would be up to the task, but I do like the view from here.
Sheep Rock- Oregon California National Historic Trail
Sheep Rock towers 1200 feet above the waters of the Bear River. The Bear River starts its course in the Uinta Mountains of eastern Utah, but at Sheep Rock it makes a sudden U-turn and heads south to the Great Salt Lake. It wasn’t always like this. Basaltic volcanic eruptions blocked the Bear River from draining into the Snake River System and sent the river southward back to Utah.
How did it get its name? Trappers and mountain men in the early 1830’s, told about a sizeable flock of bighorn mountain sheep that occupied Sheep Rock’s forested, rocky ridge throughout the year. Sheep Rock marked the junction of the main route of the Oregon-California Trail and Hudspeth’s Cutoff, a shortcut. It was often mentioned in emigrant journals.
I still see Sheep Rock, also known as Soda Point, as a landmark when I travel these roads today as it marks the junction of two highways- Idaho 34 and U.S. 30. I also enjoy visiting the site to read the many interpretive signs and enjoy the view of the Bear River.
Formation Springs
This preserve was established by the Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management. Formation Springs features crystal pools and a wetland complex at the base of Aspen Mountain. These pools are formed by cold springs that feed into them and deposit high concentrations of travertine (calcium carbonate) which gives the area its unique geology. It is a refuge for waterfowl, deer, and elk. Another interesting feature is Formation Cave. The cave is almost 10 feet tall at the entrance and 200 feet long.
I enjoy exploring this area, the water is clear and beautiful, and it’s a great place for birdwatching. The cave is fun to explore so be sure to bring a flashlight. It can be a little difficult to find the entrance because it just looks like a hole in the ground so that is an adventure all in itself.
Please check out the other sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway at http://www.pioneerhistoricbyway.org/ and enjoy your journey! 

* * *
MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
PIONEER HISTORIC BYWAY - FRANKLIN AND CARIBOU COUNTIES, IDAHO
Amy Lapp, Archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management’s Pocatello Field Office sends along a wonderful guide to a historic highway in southeast Idaho for Field Assignment #1 - Topography and Field Assignment #5 - National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks. Get ready for historic mining sites, high desert terrain and an ice cave!

Idaho’s oldest town, Native American heritage, the start of the Bonneville Flood, an ice cave, emigrant trails, historic settlements, a captive geyser, a natural spring of soda water, wetlands, and historic mining. These are some of the sites and stories you will encounter on a trip along the Pioneer Historic Byway.
I’m excited to join in American Guide Week and highlight some sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway located in southeast Idaho. The byway begins in Franklin, Idaho, the oldest town in Idaho near the Utah border, and ends at the Idaho and Wyoming border near Freedom, Wyoming.  Here you can step back in time and learn more about history while taking in the high desert, mountains, geologic features and the flora and fauna that can be found throughout.
I would like to highlight three sites along the byway that are located on public lands and are free for the public to visit and enjoy.
Last Chance Canal
Local settlers encountered a problem. They had to figure out how to get water to both sides of the Gem Valley in order to avoid losing their water rights. From this predicament the name Last Chance Canal Company was born. Settlers were successful in 1902, but their wooden flumes caused endless trouble. To solve this problem they built a 1,800 foot tunnel through solid lava rock in 1916. Much of this work was done with hand tools. Standing at the end of this tunnel today it’s hard to imagine what it would have been like to engineer something that would continue to be in use 100 years later. I don’t know if I would be up to the task, but I do like the view from here.
Sheep Rock- Oregon California National Historic Trail
Sheep Rock towers 1200 feet above the waters of the Bear River. The Bear River starts its course in the Uinta Mountains of eastern Utah, but at Sheep Rock it makes a sudden U-turn and heads south to the Great Salt Lake. It wasn’t always like this. Basaltic volcanic eruptions blocked the Bear River from draining into the Snake River System and sent the river southward back to Utah.
How did it get its name? Trappers and mountain men in the early 1830’s, told about a sizeable flock of bighorn mountain sheep that occupied Sheep Rock’s forested, rocky ridge throughout the year. Sheep Rock marked the junction of the main route of the Oregon-California Trail and Hudspeth’s Cutoff, a shortcut. It was often mentioned in emigrant journals.
I still see Sheep Rock, also known as Soda Point, as a landmark when I travel these roads today as it marks the junction of two highways- Idaho 34 and U.S. 30. I also enjoy visiting the site to read the many interpretive signs and enjoy the view of the Bear River.
Formation Springs
This preserve was established by the Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management. Formation Springs features crystal pools and a wetland complex at the base of Aspen Mountain. These pools are formed by cold springs that feed into them and deposit high concentrations of travertine (calcium carbonate) which gives the area its unique geology. It is a refuge for waterfowl, deer, and elk. Another interesting feature is Formation Cave. The cave is almost 10 feet tall at the entrance and 200 feet long.
I enjoy exploring this area, the water is clear and beautiful, and it’s a great place for birdwatching. The cave is fun to explore so be sure to bring a flashlight. It can be a little difficult to find the entrance because it just looks like a hole in the ground so that is an adventure all in itself.
Please check out the other sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway at http://www.pioneerhistoricbyway.org/ and enjoy your journey! 

* * *
MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
PIONEER HISTORIC BYWAY - FRANKLIN AND CARIBOU COUNTIES, IDAHO
Amy Lapp, Archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management’s Pocatello Field Office sends along a wonderful guide to a historic highway in southeast Idaho for Field Assignment #1 - Topography and Field Assignment #5 - National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks. Get ready for historic mining sites, high desert terrain and an ice cave!

Idaho’s oldest town, Native American heritage, the start of the Bonneville Flood, an ice cave, emigrant trails, historic settlements, a captive geyser, a natural spring of soda water, wetlands, and historic mining. These are some of the sites and stories you will encounter on a trip along the Pioneer Historic Byway.
I’m excited to join in American Guide Week and highlight some sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway located in southeast Idaho. The byway begins in Franklin, Idaho, the oldest town in Idaho near the Utah border, and ends at the Idaho and Wyoming border near Freedom, Wyoming.  Here you can step back in time and learn more about history while taking in the high desert, mountains, geologic features and the flora and fauna that can be found throughout.
I would like to highlight three sites along the byway that are located on public lands and are free for the public to visit and enjoy.
Last Chance Canal
Local settlers encountered a problem. They had to figure out how to get water to both sides of the Gem Valley in order to avoid losing their water rights. From this predicament the name Last Chance Canal Company was born. Settlers were successful in 1902, but their wooden flumes caused endless trouble. To solve this problem they built a 1,800 foot tunnel through solid lava rock in 1916. Much of this work was done with hand tools. Standing at the end of this tunnel today it’s hard to imagine what it would have been like to engineer something that would continue to be in use 100 years later. I don’t know if I would be up to the task, but I do like the view from here.
Sheep Rock- Oregon California National Historic Trail
Sheep Rock towers 1200 feet above the waters of the Bear River. The Bear River starts its course in the Uinta Mountains of eastern Utah, but at Sheep Rock it makes a sudden U-turn and heads south to the Great Salt Lake. It wasn’t always like this. Basaltic volcanic eruptions blocked the Bear River from draining into the Snake River System and sent the river southward back to Utah.
How did it get its name? Trappers and mountain men in the early 1830’s, told about a sizeable flock of bighorn mountain sheep that occupied Sheep Rock’s forested, rocky ridge throughout the year. Sheep Rock marked the junction of the main route of the Oregon-California Trail and Hudspeth’s Cutoff, a shortcut. It was often mentioned in emigrant journals.
I still see Sheep Rock, also known as Soda Point, as a landmark when I travel these roads today as it marks the junction of two highways- Idaho 34 and U.S. 30. I also enjoy visiting the site to read the many interpretive signs and enjoy the view of the Bear River.
Formation Springs
This preserve was established by the Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management. Formation Springs features crystal pools and a wetland complex at the base of Aspen Mountain. These pools are formed by cold springs that feed into them and deposit high concentrations of travertine (calcium carbonate) which gives the area its unique geology. It is a refuge for waterfowl, deer, and elk. Another interesting feature is Formation Cave. The cave is almost 10 feet tall at the entrance and 200 feet long.
I enjoy exploring this area, the water is clear and beautiful, and it’s a great place for birdwatching. The cave is fun to explore so be sure to bring a flashlight. It can be a little difficult to find the entrance because it just looks like a hole in the ground so that is an adventure all in itself.
Please check out the other sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway at http://www.pioneerhistoricbyway.org/ and enjoy your journey! 

* * *
MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

PIONEER HISTORIC BYWAY - FRANKLIN AND CARIBOU COUNTIES, IDAHO

Amy Lapp, Archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management’s Pocatello Field Office sends along a wonderful guide to a historic highway in southeast Idaho for Field Assignment #1 - Topography and Field Assignment #5 - National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks. Get ready for historic mining sites, high desert terrain and an ice cave!

Idaho’s oldest town, Native American heritage, the start of the Bonneville Flood, an ice cave, emigrant trails, historic settlements, a captive geyser, a natural spring of soda water, wetlands, and historic mining. These are some of the sites and stories you will encounter on a trip along the Pioneer Historic Byway.

I’m excited to join in American Guide Week and highlight some sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway located in southeast Idaho. The byway begins in Franklin, Idaho, the oldest town in Idaho near the Utah border, and ends at the Idaho and Wyoming border near Freedom, Wyoming.  Here you can step back in time and learn more about history while taking in the high desert, mountains, geologic features and the flora and fauna that can be found throughout.

I would like to highlight three sites along the byway that are located on public lands and are free for the public to visit and enjoy.

Last Chance Canal

Local settlers encountered a problem. They had to figure out how to get water to both sides of the Gem Valley in order to avoid losing their water rights. From this predicament the name Last Chance Canal Company was born. Settlers were successful in 1902, but their wooden flumes caused endless trouble. To solve this problem they built a 1,800 foot tunnel through solid lava rock in 1916. Much of this work was done with hand tools. Standing at the end of this tunnel today it’s hard to imagine what it would have been like to engineer something that would continue to be in use 100 years later. I don’t know if I would be up to the task, but I do like the view from here.

Sheep Rock- Oregon California National Historic Trail

Sheep Rock towers 1200 feet above the waters of the Bear River. The Bear River starts its course in the Uinta Mountains of eastern Utah, but at Sheep Rock it makes a sudden U-turn and heads south to the Great Salt Lake. It wasn’t always like this. Basaltic volcanic eruptions blocked the Bear River from draining into the Snake River System and sent the river southward back to Utah.

How did it get its name? Trappers and mountain men in the early 1830’s, told about a sizeable flock of bighorn mountain sheep that occupied Sheep Rock’s forested, rocky ridge throughout the year. Sheep Rock marked the junction of the main route of the Oregon-California Trail and Hudspeth’s Cutoff, a shortcut. It was often mentioned in emigrant journals.

I still see Sheep Rock, also known as Soda Point, as a landmark when I travel these roads today as it marks the junction of two highways- Idaho 34 and U.S. 30. I also enjoy visiting the site to read the many interpretive signs and enjoy the view of the Bear River.

Formation Springs

This preserve was established by the Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management. Formation Springs features crystal pools and a wetland complex at the base of Aspen Mountain. These pools are formed by cold springs that feed into them and deposit high concentrations of travertine (calcium carbonate) which gives the area its unique geology. It is a refuge for waterfowl, deer, and elk. Another interesting feature is Formation Cave. The cave is almost 10 feet tall at the entrance and 200 feet long.

I enjoy exploring this area, the water is clear and beautiful, and it’s a great place for birdwatching. The cave is fun to explore so be sure to bring a flashlight. It can be a little difficult to find the entrance because it just looks like a hole in the ground so that is an adventure all in itself.

Please check out the other sites along the Pioneer Historic Byway at http://www.pioneerhistoricbyway.org/ and enjoy your journey! 

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MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.

SAN PEDRO RIPARIAN NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA - COCHISE COUNTY, ARIZONA
In addition to American Guide Week, it turns out it’s also the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. Are you kidding us with those skies, San Pedro? From our friends over at mypubliclands comes this amazingly beautiful dispatch for Field Assignment #5 - National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks:

On November 18, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed PL 100-696 into law, formally establishing the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Arizona.
The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area contains nearly 57,000 acres of public land in Cochise County, Arizona, between the international border and St. David, Arizona. The riparian area, where some 40 miles of the upper San Pedro River meanders, is one of the most important riparian areas in the United States. The river’s stretch is home to more than 80 species of mammals, two native species and several introduced species of fish, more than 40 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 100 species of breeding birds. It also provides invaluable habitat for 250 species of migrant and wintering birds and contains archaeological sites representing the remains of human occupation from 13,000 years ago.  The area provides opportunities for wildlife viewing including birdwatching, picnicking, primitive camping, pre-historic and historic site visiting, hunting, hiking, fishing, biking, horseback riding, guided hikes, interpretive site visitation, and weekend children’s programs. 
For more information, visit http://on.doi.gov/IcYDc7 .

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MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
SAN PEDRO RIPARIAN NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA - COCHISE COUNTY, ARIZONA
In addition to American Guide Week, it turns out it’s also the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. Are you kidding us with those skies, San Pedro? From our friends over at mypubliclands comes this amazingly beautiful dispatch for Field Assignment #5 - National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks:

On November 18, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed PL 100-696 into law, formally establishing the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Arizona.
The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area contains nearly 57,000 acres of public land in Cochise County, Arizona, between the international border and St. David, Arizona. The riparian area, where some 40 miles of the upper San Pedro River meanders, is one of the most important riparian areas in the United States. The river’s stretch is home to more than 80 species of mammals, two native species and several introduced species of fish, more than 40 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 100 species of breeding birds. It also provides invaluable habitat for 250 species of migrant and wintering birds and contains archaeological sites representing the remains of human occupation from 13,000 years ago.  The area provides opportunities for wildlife viewing including birdwatching, picnicking, primitive camping, pre-historic and historic site visiting, hunting, hiking, fishing, biking, horseback riding, guided hikes, interpretive site visitation, and weekend children’s programs. 
For more information, visit http://on.doi.gov/IcYDc7 .

* * *
MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
SAN PEDRO RIPARIAN NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA - COCHISE COUNTY, ARIZONA
In addition to American Guide Week, it turns out it’s also the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. Are you kidding us with those skies, San Pedro? From our friends over at mypubliclands comes this amazingly beautiful dispatch for Field Assignment #5 - National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks:

On November 18, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed PL 100-696 into law, formally establishing the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Arizona.
The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area contains nearly 57,000 acres of public land in Cochise County, Arizona, between the international border and St. David, Arizona. The riparian area, where some 40 miles of the upper San Pedro River meanders, is one of the most important riparian areas in the United States. The river’s stretch is home to more than 80 species of mammals, two native species and several introduced species of fish, more than 40 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 100 species of breeding birds. It also provides invaluable habitat for 250 species of migrant and wintering birds and contains archaeological sites representing the remains of human occupation from 13,000 years ago.  The area provides opportunities for wildlife viewing including birdwatching, picnicking, primitive camping, pre-historic and historic site visiting, hunting, hiking, fishing, biking, horseback riding, guided hikes, interpretive site visitation, and weekend children’s programs. 
For more information, visit http://on.doi.gov/IcYDc7 .

* * *
MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

SAN PEDRO RIPARIAN NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA - COCHISE COUNTY, ARIZONA

In addition to American Guide Week, it turns out it’s also the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. Are you kidding us with those skies, San Pedro? From our friends over at mypubliclands comes this amazingly beautiful dispatch for Field Assignment #5 - National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks:

On November 18, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed PL 100-696 into law, formally establishing the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Arizona.

The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area contains nearly 57,000 acres of public land in Cochise County, Arizona, between the international border and St. David, Arizona. The riparian area, where some 40 miles of the upper San Pedro River meanders, is one of the most important riparian areas in the United States. The river’s stretch is home to more than 80 species of mammals, two native species and several introduced species of fish, more than 40 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 100 species of breeding birds. It also provides invaluable habitat for 250 species of migrant and wintering birds and contains archaeological sites representing the remains of human occupation from 13,000 years ago.  The area provides opportunities for wildlife viewing including birdwatching, picnicking, primitive camping, pre-historic and historic site visiting, hunting, hiking, fishing, biking, horseback riding, guided hikes, interpretive site visitation, and weekend children’s programs. 

For more information, visit http://on.doi.gov/IcYDc7 .

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MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.

RÍO GRANDE DEL NORTE NATIONAL MONUMENT, NEW MEXICO













Yucca, cactus, locoweed, vetch, wild gourd vines, purple verbena, bee balm, aster, chamiso and other wild flowers, including mallow and flowering grasses, give beauty to the foreground, while the hills and mountains in the distance make for greater loveliness, with sky and piling clouds over all.
— New Mexico, A Guide To the Colorful State (WPA, 1940)

On March 25, 2013, President Obama signed proclamations establishing five new national monuments, including two administered by the Bureau of Land Management:  the San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington and the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico.
The Río Grande del Norte National Monument includes ecosystems and vegetation that exhibit significant diversity. A large expanse of the monument encompasses a big-game corridor stretching between the San Juan Mountains in the west and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the east. The Río Grande provides habitat for fish such as the flathead chub and the Río Grande Cutthroat Trout, as well as for waterfowl, including ducks, geese, and coots.
Learn more about one of our newest monuments:  http://blm.gov/c2kd
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MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.
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RÍO GRANDE DEL NORTE NATIONAL MONUMENT, NEW MEXICO

Yucca, cactus, locoweed, vetch, wild gourd vines, purple verbena, bee balm, aster, chamiso and other wild flowers, including mallow and flowering grasses, give beauty to the foreground, while the hills and mountains in the distance make for greater loveliness, with sky and piling clouds over all.

New Mexico, A Guide To the Colorful State (WPA, 1940)

On March 25, 2013, President Obama signed proclamations establishing five new national monuments, including two administered by the Bureau of Land Management:  the San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington and the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico.

The Río Grande del Norte National Monument includes ecosystems and vegetation that exhibit significant diversity. A large expanse of the monument encompasses a big-game corridor stretching between the San Juan Mountains in the west and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the east. The Río Grande provides habitat for fish such as the flathead chub and the Río Grande Cutthroat Trout, as well as for waterfowl, including ducks, geese, and coots.

Learn more about one of our newest monuments:  http://blm.gov/c2kd

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MyPublicLands is the official Tumblr of the Bureau of Land Management. Follow the next generation of BLMers as they share their experiences on the public lands. You can find them at mypubliclands.tumblr.com.

Our friends over at My Public Lands are featuring a series of hikes for #AmericanGuideWeek. 

mypubliclands:

Our first dispatch is from the Holter Lake area in Montana.  The Holter Lake Recreation Area is located along lower Holter Lake and the Missouri River about 40 miles north of Helena and 40 miles west of Great Falls. Located in a beautiful mountain setting, the area offers a variety of recreation opportunities. Fishing for rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, walleye, and perch is popular. And for you history buffs out there, Lewis and Clark traveled through this area 200 years ago.  Find out how to visit at http://on.doi.gov/104by4c

Follow them on Tumblr and on Twitter and check out the photo/essay contest they’ve got going on for veterans, active military and their families.