This chapter summarizes the pertinent historical patterns and events that predate establishment of state parks in the upper John Day Basin. It focuses on four broad areas which affect management of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The first section outlines what is known about tribal territories in this part of Oregon to provide some context for consultation efforts. This is followed by a short narrative on subsequent settlement and land use intended to convey how the area's economic base developed in relation to the monument. In the third section, increasing recognition of the area's fossil resources over a 50 year period led to a short-lived national park proposal for the Sheep Rock area. The upper basin's prospects to obtain better roads fueled the park proposal at a time when automobiles began to gain widespread acceptance, so the fourth section describes how highways developed in Grant and Wheeler counties.
Last Updated: 30-Apr-2002