A Miracle at Work
—Idahoans at Work —
A Rich Tradition Of Land Use
Gathering, Hunting, Trapping, Mining, Logging, Ranching, Farming, Recreation
Around 15 thousand years ago, groups of Native Americans started the long history of land use in this area. Today, the Nez Perce, Shoshone, Bannock and Shoshone-Paiute tribes carry on rich traditions of hunting, fishing and gathering food, herbs and wood.
Between 1810 and 1824, mountain men including Joe Meek and Jedediah Smith trapped and explored as they passed through the area.
By 1825, the Hudsons Bay Company established a trade center at Fort Boise. Trappers such as Francoise Payette, Peter Weiser, W.P. Hunt and Alexander Mackenzie regularly visited Central Idaho. The left behind a legacy in the names of local lakes, rivers and towns.
In the summer of 1862, James Warren struck gold at Warren's Diggings, 54 miles north of here. This started the territory's third gold rush and established the first regular trade routes from Lewiston to Weiser. By 1870, Warren's Diggings has over three thousand citizens, a third of whom were of Chinese descent.
When gold and wild game became scarce, folks began to ranch and farm the land. Long Valley and the area around Cascade and Donnelly became a haven for Finnish immigrants who found the area reminiscent of their homeland.
The timber industry began in 1895, furnishing hand-cut railroad ties. By 1896 McCall had its first sawmill.
In 1904, timber companies joined forces as the Southern Idaho Timber Protective Association (SITPA) to protect privately owned forest lands.
In 1905, at the urging of Gifford Pinchot and Teddy Roosevelt, Congress ford the U.S. Forest Service to protect public land and provide resources for out growing nation.
Railroads came up the canyons to New Meadows in 1911 and McCall in 1914. The Oregon Short Line and the Pacific and Idaho Northern linked central Idaho to the rest of the world.
In 1924, the Blackwell Ski Area 0 Idaho's first - launched winter recreation use in the valley. The tradition continues today at the Little Ski Hill and Brundage Mountain.
During the 1930's, thousands of young men - part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) - built fire breaks, roads, bridges, dams and the buildings surrounding you.