The desert is bursting with new green growth, the rivers are overflowing with runoff and a hint of warmth is in the air. It must be time for the first Owyhee County Historical Society field trip of the season.
Each year, the OCHS hosts a series of field trips to interesting and often difficult-to-access locations throughout the Owyhee County area. These trips provide up-close and personal opportunities to view historical homesteads, visit with families working the land for multiple generations and hear governing agencies explain management practices.
The first trip this year will be out into the Bruneau Desert. The group will visit Winter Camp, an old homestead that sits along a year-round water source and boasts the remains of both wooden and rock structures, as well as old farming implements.
Along with the group, two special guests will be joining the adventure. Jeff Ross, a Bureau of Land Management archeologist from the Jarbidge District, will speak about early humans and their mark on the area. Local rancher Joe Leguineche will also be on hand to share his family’s involvement with this land over the years. The Leguineche ranch in Gooding will be celebrating 100 years of ranching this year as well.
The public is invited on all of the field trips, and membership in the OCHS is always available. For those interested in coming along, the group will meet at Bruneau City Park on Saturday, April 9, at 9 a.m. From there, we will caravan out into the desert. After our time in Winter Camp, a potluck lunch will be served. These potlucks are a highlight of all the trips, which end by late afternoon.
With the early spring weather, road conditions are subject to change daily. Winter Camp is located approximately 29 miles south across the desert. This road is usually good gravel, but leaving the road to reach the final destination may require a high-clearance vehicle. For more information, contact the Owyhee County Historical Society at 208-495-2319.