Baker Mill Investigations 2022 - Passport in Time

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Oregon - Malheur NF
Closed! An Investigation of the Baker White Pine Mill Site,_Oregon.jpg by Doug Kerr, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
The Blue Mountains near Baker City, Oregon

July 18-22, 2022

Volunteers must commit to entire session

Come join the Malheur National Forest in Eastern Oregon as we investigate the historic Baker White Pine Mill and the legacy of the Japanese population who worked there! The Baker White Pine Mill was in business between 1912 and 1929, and had a reputation as a "high class" operation. This designation was likely due the novelty of the mill itself, and its utilization of new equipment and quality construction for logging spurs – at its peak, the mill out-produced all others in nearby Austin and Sumpter, having a capacity to yield a previously unheard of 150,000 board feet per day! But, by 1930, the mill closed down, and has since taken its place in the annals of Oregon’s “forgotten” logging industry. The Mill is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
The goal of this year’s PIT project will be to rediscover and understand multiple components of the site, particularly those concerning the complexities of ethnicity and culture during the Mill’s heyday. Volunteers will have the opportunity to experience an historic, postindustrial landscape with the beautiful Malheur National Forest as its natural backdrop! Participants will conduct pedestrian and metal-detector survey to relocate features and artifacts related to the Mill and, more importantly, the Japanese and other laborers who once lived and worked here. Like many past PIT projects on the Malheur, this year's venture will be completed in coordination with Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA). We look forward to hosting PIT volunteers, the diverse group of SOULA heritage stewards and students, and others who will work alongside archaeologists, technicians, and interns from the Forest Service – we hope you’ll join us this July as we uncover the history of the Baker White Pine Mill!
Please note: all volunteers will be required to follow current COVID-19 guidelines, which may include social-distancing, providing proof of qualifying vaccinations, and/or the wearing of masks. Further, due to the ever-evolving nature of the pandemic, this project could be amended, postponed, or canceled. Selected volunteers are encouraged to remain in contact with project leads to stay apprised of any changes.

Number of openings: 6

Special skills: Participants must be physically capable of hiking moderate distances each day, often over potentially difficult terrain, and in a variety of weather conditions; previous archaeological survey, mapping, photography; metal-detecting; and/or historic artifact identification experience helpful, but not necessary

Minimum age: 18 years old

Facilities: Dispersed tent and small (pop-up style) RV camping available at no charge along the scenic John Day River; no facilities; tent camping available at small FS campground located ~15 miles from project location; vault toilets, water source available nearby, fees may apply; Bates State Park campgrounds and facilities (~11 miles from project area) also available; amenities vary, and fees may apply; John Day, Austin, and Prairie City are full-service communities with hotels/motels, B&Bs, restaurants, and a full range of other amenities; volunteers responsible for own lodging/camping equipment, food, water, and daily transportation to and from designated meeting area(s)
Nearest towns: Austin and Prairie City, 21 miles; John Day, 34 miles; Baker City, 48 miles

Applications due: May 23, 2022

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