Dust in the Wind : a Cultural Resources Management Plan for the Bureau of Land Management South Cow Mountain Off-highway Vehicle Recreation Area
Purpose: This thesis documents archaeological investigations within the Bureau of Land Management South Cow Mountain Off-highway Vehicle Recreation Area (SCMRA), Lake and Mendocino counties, California. The primary purposes are: (1) conduct an intensive pedestrian survey of sections of roads and trails within South Cow Mountain Recreation Area; (2) map and record all newly discovered sites and re-document all known sites in the study area; (3) identify potential impacts from recreation use; and (4) prepare site condition assessments and preliminary recommendations based on these observations. Methods: Background archival research was conducted to: (1) determine the scope and location of previous surveys and archaeological sites within and near to the SCMRA; (2) better characterize the regional prehistory and formulate potential research questions pertinent to the SCMRA; and (3) to inform field analysis. The field study consisted of an intensive pedestrian survey of approximately 350 acres including 50 miles of off· highway vehicle (OHV) trails and roads, including 100 ft. buffer on either side where possible. Known sites were re-documented and new sites recorded. Findings: Thirty archaeological sites (14 previously known, 16 new resources) were recorded during field activities, these included 17 historic-era, 8 prehistoric, and 5 multi-component sites. Historic-era sites tended to be early mid-nineteenth century to mid· twentieth century domestic artifact concentrations related to early settlement and hunting activities and small mining prospects. Prehistoric sites consisted of mostly low density lithic scatters, absent any cultural materials. Eight obsidian and colorless glass samples were collected from two sites, with eight being submitted for XRF analysis and three being submitted for hydration analysis. Conclusions: Cultural resources within South Cow Mountain are being impacted by recreation activities, land management practices, and natural processes to varying degrees. These impacts are identified and various means are suggested to mitigate their effects on resources in the SCMRA. Not simply a barren wasteland, the data collected here suggest that the SCMRA was a valuable resource to prehistoric and later historic-era people and experienced various uses over time. Five research themes are identified here that link resources within the SCMRA to larger trends in history and aid in their preliminary National Register evaluation assessments.