Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dejavu - BLM flexes it's muscles again...

Oregon Trail damaged in south-central Idaho

According to the Associated Press; The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is investigating damage to a portion of the Oregon Trail in south-central Idaho near Burley. It was allegedly damaged by people using metal detectors and shovels to illegally search for artifacts.
The BLM stated that  they recently found about 400 holes over several miles of the trail. This area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and protected under the Archaeological Resource Protection Act of 1979.
The holes were dug alongside "pristine wagon ruts" made in the 1800s through the dirt and sagebrush by thousands of immigrants heading to Oregon, officials said.
"It is the BLM's responsibility to protect and preserve any sections of the Oregon National Historic Trail under its jurisdiction," said BLM Burley Field Office Archaeologist Suzann Hendrikson. "The recent damage to the trail near Burley has resulted in a significant loss of history for the American public."
The following photo shows Ms. Hendrikson inspecting some of the "damage".
Suzann Henrikson, archaeologist with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, looks at a boulder that was displaced (ie: to move physically out of position - as if BLM permitted range cattle don't) from the Oregon Trail.

“I haven’t seen the magnitude of this kind of damage ever,”Henrikson discovered the damage Aug. 13 while visiting the site with a group of volunteers interested in grooming the trail. ("grooming"? - exactly what is grooming and how does it impact the "pristine nature" of the trails archeological context?)

"Although owning a metal detector is not illegal, be aware that using this device on lands under federal management may result in a crime," Henrikson said. "If you sink a shovel in an archaeological site on public land, you could be convicted of a felony."

"A BLM special agent is investigating the incident as a criminal case." (our tax dollars at work once again...)
"People convicted of ARPA violations can be fined up to $20,000 and jailed for one year for a first offense. Second-time offenders may be fined $100,000 and receive up to five years in prison. (and convicted drug dealers, rapists, and 2nd degree murderers get what?) Federal and state laws also prohibit selling, buying and trafficking artifacts removed from public land."

And so, the witch hunt is on by the BLM to locate and prosecute those who did the digging.
The Oregon Trail generally followed level ground along the Snake River in Idaho before entering northeastern Oregon, where immigrants crossed the Blue Mountains north-west of what is now Boise.

Boy, I dunno...
I think that the diggers were irresponsible if they left their holes open, but why not recover whatever is laying out there in the sage before time and the elements destroy it for all eternity.
This seems to me to be like a case of "the dog in the manger".
I (BLM) doesn't want it, but you can't have it either~
If you get the urge to touch base with Ms. Henrikson, just to let her know what a "great job" that she and the BLM are doing with your hard earned tax dollars, she can be reached at;

Suzann Henrikson
Burley Field Office 15 East 200 South Burley, ID 83318
(208) 677-6663
Oh, and her boss is
Mike CourtneyField Manager
15 East 200 South
Burley, ID. 83318

(208) 677-6663
(no email listed)


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