Oregon Public Broadcasting

Restoration work got underway this weekend on a two-mile stretch of the Oregon Trail that cuts through southern Idaho.

Officials with the Bureau of Land Management in Burley worked with local Boy Scouts to fill about 400 holes illegally dug by artifact hunters sometime this summer.

BLM archaeologist Suzann Henrikson says tens of thousands made their way west along the trail in the mid-eighteen hundreds.

Outside Burley, you can still see the ruts where the wagon wheels cut into the road.

But Henrikson says much of the 2,000 mile trail has been lost over the last century to modern development.

"So these little intact segments, these little slices of our history, are disappearing rapidly. And so when you see something like this, it's just needless and horrific. You're disgusted," said Henrikson.

The BLM is seeking help from the public to catch the person or persons responsible for plundering the site. It's not known what was taken. But the removal of archaeological artifacts from public lands can be a felony. First time offenders could face a year in prison and be fined as much as $20,000.

On the Web:

National Park Service: Oregon Trail

NPS: Oregon Trail Map

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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