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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Garden Valley in Boise County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
 

Snake Brigades & “Fur Deserts”

 
 
Snake Brigades & "Fur Deserts" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 3, 2018
1. Snake Brigades & "Fur Deserts" Marker
Captions: (map, upper right) Oregon Country, 1830s, included what is presently is Idaho, Oregon and Washington, and parts of Montana, Nevada, Wyoming and British Columbia. (arrow points to "Payette River System); (bottom center) Hudson's Bay Company trapper, early nineteenth century.
Inscription. The Payette River is named for Francois Payette, a French-Canadian trapper and early explorer of the major tributaries of the Snake River. At that time, British, Canadian, and American fur companies competed for the region's abundant natural resources.
In 1821, Britain's Hudson's Bay Company tried to gain control of the Oregon Country. The Company's "Snake Brigades" worked to completely trap out beaver from the Snake River country, creating a "fur desert" -- a barrier to encroaching American trappers.
The British abandoned their claim to the Oregon Country in 1846 because of the fur trade decline, and a growing American presence. With this ownership question settled the door to rapid American settlement was opened.

Francois Payette and the Fur Trade
Francois Payette's career spanned the fur-trade period of the Pacific Northwest's history. Payette came into the country in 1811 with the Pacific Fur Company, an ill-fated American enterprise. When it disbanded he transferred to the North West Company, which merged with the Hudson's Bay Company, a British corporation, in 1821.
For years he trapped with the Snake Brigades. His reputation as a steady man with great knowledge of the Snake River country helped his rise within the Company's ranks. In 1837, Payette took charge of Fort Boise, the Hudson's Bay Company's fur trading post at the mouth of the Boise River, near present-day Parma, Idaho. Managing the post until he retired in 1844, Payette greeted missionaries, explorers and emigrants on the Oregon Trail.

Managed today by the Forest Service, the river corridor is still the scene of diverse values and uses. The signs located along the Banks-Lowman highway illustrate this story.
 
Erected by U.S. Forest Service, Boise National Forest.
 
Location. 44° 3.783′ N, 115° 55.302′ W. Marker is in Garden Valley, Idaho, in Boise County. Marker can be reached from Banks Lowman Road (County Highway 17) near Station Creek Loop Road, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1219 Banks Lowman Road, Garden Valley ID 83622, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Impounded Payette (approx. 3.6 miles away); CCC Shapes the Payette Drainage (approx. 6.9 miles away); Boise Basin Mercantile Museum (approx. 8.4 miles away); Henrietta Penrod Museum (approx. 8.4 miles away); Fiddlers Murdered at Ophir Creek (approx. 8 miles away).
 
More about this marker. This marker is located in front of the Garden Valley Ranger Station.
 
Categories. ExplorationIndustry & CommerceNatural Resources
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 25, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 25, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. Photo   1. submitted on June 25, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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