After the Trail Creek Fire
Boise National Forest, Idaho, 2000–2001
In late August and early September of 2000, a wildland fire burned nearly 33,000 acres in the vicinity of Atlanta, Idaho, an important historical-period mining town. Although this fire was relatively small compared to many of the fires last season, it was particularly devastating to cultural resources. Named by Confederate sympathizers, the town of Atlanta was established in 1864 at the mouth of Quartz Gulch. By 1867, large-scale mining operations were underway and continued into the 1930s. In the 1940s, floating dredges reworked the rivers and streams, recovering the gold missed by hand-placer operations. The Atlanta Historic Mining District encompasses more than 100 years of history that typifies gold and silver mining in the American West. The fire burned over most of the district in less than two days.
During the course of assessing the condition of known sites within the burned area, 38 additional sites were discovered. In summer 2001, volunteers and FS archaeologists surveyed portions damaged by the Trail Creek Fire and recorded sites ranging from can dumps to mining complexes. These photos show some of what they found.