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Treasure hunters cause ‘ghastly’ damage to historic Oregon Trail ruts near Snake River

Treasure hunters likely using metal detectors have dug hundreds of holes in the historic wagon ruts of the Oregon Trail near the Snake River in Idaho, causing what BLM archaeologist Suzann Henrikson calls “ghastly” damage, Boise State Public Radio reports. Henrikson discovered the damage last week while taking a Boy Scout leader and a local historian to see the historic trail. BSPR reports the treasure hunters may have been inspired by a Spike TV reality show featuring people who go out with metal detectors, find and dig up historic artifacts and sell them; see BSPR’s full report here.

The diggers likely violated the federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act, a felony; the 1979 law declares that “archaeological resources on public lands … are an accessible and irreplaceable part of the Nation’s heritage.”


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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