7 Oct 2008, 1:12pm
Cultural Landscapes
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History of the Jarbidge, Nevada, Area

St. Louis, Bob. 2008. History of the Jarbidge, Nevada, Area With Special Emphasis on Matters Pertaining to the South Canyon Section of Jarbidge Road. Western Institute for Study of the Environment

I.  Introduction

For almost one hundred years, the Jarbidge area has been the center of numerous controversies.  At the turn of the century, the issue was federal protection for interests of local ranchers and other inhabitants against a wave of invading sheepmen.  After gold was discovered in the area, the issue became one of local miners petitioning the federal government for a townsite.  Later on, part of the area was set aside as Nevada’s first designated wilderness.  Subsequently, the Forest Service set upon a crusade to expand that wilderness, in spite of local residents’ objections.  Still later, the Jarbidge Wilderness was expanded after the Forest Service unilaterally closed a segment of South Canyon Road.  In most recent times, Jarbidge townspeople  had to appeal to Congress in order to remove Forest Service authority over their cemetery.  The latest controversy returns to an earlier issue:  the Forest Service once again attempted to create a de facto wilderness by closing another segment of South Canyon Road.

The following chronicle documents the history of the South Canyon of the Jarbidge River, from the perspective of the on and off relationship between the federal government and the local residents.  It is not intended to be a thorough study of the history of this part of Nevada, but rather a detailed introduction into how the role of the federal government has been transformed from the “government of the people, by the people” to a self-serving entity that disregards the interests, and laws, of the local citizenry.

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