Tehama Trail Survey 2017 - Passport in Time

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California - Redding FO
Closed! Archaeology of the Forgotten Tehama Emigrant Trail

Battle_Creek_California_(1).jpg by Richjordana [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Battle Creek, California

September 18-22, 2017

Must commit to a minimum of 2 days

During the period from the 1850s through the 1870s, Tehama County was caught up in the Euro-American settlement and commercial development of the West, including military-Indian confrontations, sheep raising, lumbering, fluming, and development of a transportation infrastructure; various routes were used by immigrants and the military. As California towns and cities grew, there was an increased need for construction lumber and wool for blankets, clothing and other items. Prime mountain forests provided the best sources of lumber, but there were few roads accessing these areas. Therefore, elaborate flume systems, including Tehama County’s 42-mile-long Blue Ridge Flume, were created to carry cut lumber to valley centers for distribution. Roads and trails were built for servicing these flumes, to reach the highland mills and communities, and to provide access to large ranch holdings and other developments, such as the early hydroelectric systems. Some of the same roads were also used earlier by immigrants coming west and later, for east-west commercial and personal travel opportunities.

Traces of these roads (sometimes still in partial use) and trails can still be found, so, once again, PIT volunteers and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) personnel (and for one day, US Forest Service (USFS) personnel) will take on interpretive mapping across the BLM’s Bend Area of Critical Environmental Concern, and in the Lassen National Forest Mineral Area to the east in order to search for these various historic roads and trails, and their archaeological information. Work will focus on the Spring Branch/ Old Manton Road, and the Lost or Forgotten Emigrant Trail/Road. The project will be directed by Dr. Eric Ritter and assisted by Alden Neel, both archaeologists at the BLM Redding office, and by Adam Gutierrez, USFS archaeologist.

We will concentrate primarily on the historic emigrant road near Battle Creek and the Sacramento River near Red Bluff/Anderson, and secondarily on a section of Forest Service land near Mineral. Volunteers and BLM and USFS staff will map the alignments and associated features to help understand wagon/pack trail use and construction, and to provide interpretive possibilities. Metal detectors will be used for artifact discovery and feature definition, and we’ll employ careful note-taking and mapping. Markers will be installed at key locations, and we will visit historic and prehistoric sites in the vicinity (including petroglyphs, villages, rockshelters, rock walls, flume remnants, and cabin foundations). Please join us for another year studying the historic Tehama emigrant and commercial transportation network!

Number of openings: 20

Special skills: Volunteers must be physically capable of hiking moderate distances each day, over often difficult terrain, and in a variety of weather conditions; previous archaeological survey, artifact identification, mapping, photography, sketching, metal detection, and historic/prehistoric land-use experience helpful, but not required; volunteers who have them are encouraged to bring their own metal-detectors, but this is not required for selection
Minimum age: 10 years old, under 18 with a responsible adult

Facilities: Primitive tent camping near Red Bluff within the Bend Area of Critical Concern; toilets and sun showers or equivalent; some drinking water provided by BLM FO; volunteers responsible for personal camping equipment, food, extra water, and initial transportation to designated meeting area; potluck dinner planned for Thursday.

Nearest towns: Red Bluff, 5 miles; Anderson, 10 miles; Redding, 25 miles

Applications due: Deadline Extended!

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