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Mormon Pioneer Trail, Historic Resource Study - Interactive ebook

Mormon Pioneer Trail, Historic Resource Study - Interactive ebook

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Publicado porSyncOrSwim
A great great grandson of Heber C. Kimball, historian Stanley B. Kimball, PhD was hired by the US National Park Service to write a concise yet thorough overview of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail. Kimball compiled a goldmine of information about the Mormon Trail and the experiences of the 70,000 people who traveled it to the Utah Territory in the 1800s. Includes maps, photos and an interactive fly out table of contents. You can also find this book online at http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/mopi/hrs.htm. This work is in the public domain.

• The PDF download includes an interactive table of contents and an advanced search feature
A great great grandson of Heber C. Kimball, historian Stanley B. Kimball, PhD was hired by the US National Park Service to write a concise yet thorough overview of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail. Kimball compiled a goldmine of information about the Mormon Trail and the experiences of the 70,000 people who traveled it to the Utah Territory in the 1800s. Includes maps, photos and an interactive fly out table of contents. You can also find this book online at http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/mopi/hrs.htm. This work is in the public domain.

• The PDF download includes an interactive table of contents and an advanced search feature

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Published by: SyncOrSwim on Jan 06, 2011
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11/15/2013

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In trail days, "reading trail" or "reading [Indian] sign" was vital to the welfare of emigrants.
This science made use of any evidence that something or someone had been over the ground.
An experienced scout could tell from a broken blade of grass, disturbed soil, tracks, a bead, a
feather, or dung, such things as what game was near; how many Indians of what tribe had
proceeded, when and in what direction; the number of horses, how fast they had been
moving, and whether they had been mounted or stolen; whether it had been a hunting party
or a whole camp moving; whether an individual had been walking, running, or attempting to
leave a false trail.

Today reading trail can be a rewarding pastime as well as essential for serious trail students.
And, since authentic trail ruts are the most valuable and interesting resources connected with
historic trails, something should be said here about reading and interpreting them.

Because so many current ranch and energy trails and roads look more like the old trails than
the old trails do, it is not always easy to identify authentic trail ruts. There are, however, some
guidelines. The romantic notion that trail ruts are always two lines stretching into the sunset is
just that, romantic. Where possible, westering Americans usually traveled several abreast to
avoid breathing dust. All kinds of parallel trail ruts also developed because of water, land
features, or browse. Swales (saucer-shaped depressions) in the landscape 50 to 100 feet wide,
developed where wagons traveled abreast and close to each other. At other times, what would
properly be called "trail corridors" (up to 1 mile wide) developed.

Trail followers should do their homework and have good maps so that they know in advance
approximately where trail ruts should be. Most modern trails, or disturbed land (a buried
pipeline for instance) run straighter than the old trails. That modern tire tracks can be seen
only means someone recently drove down the old trail.

One should study the overall terrain well, especially the vegetation. Sometimes the vegetation
is fuller in old ruts, sometimes it is sparse. In some areas where the hard topsoil was broken
up (and continually fertilized by the draft animals) rain water penetrated deeper and, as a
result, the growth is more lush, even today. It is also true that ruts tend to collect water, which
aids growth. In some instances, however, the broken topsoil was simply blown away, leaving
a poorer subsoil which, even today, supports only sparse growth. The best way to learn to
read trail is by experience.

In the matter of protecting trail ruts, someone once said in reference to following the old
trails, 'Take nothing but photographs; leave nothing but footprints." Good advice. Ruts are not
as fragile as many think. They were created, after all, by plodding animals pulling wagons
weighing tons and rolling on iron tires! They can be damaged, however, by careless use of
motorcycles and ORVs, and totally destroyed by road crews, agriculture, urban sprawl, utility
corridors, pipelines, mining and other extractive industries, and a host of other modern
activities. Walking in ruts seldom causes damage to them, it may even help preserve them.
Even careful driving in ruts might do no harm. Proper management, legislation, and
parameters for use should be sought.

Mormon Pioneer

Historic Resource Study

CHAPTER 2:

THE TRAIL EXPERIENCE

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