U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Malheur
National Wildlife Refuge


3691 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR   97721 - 9502
E-mail: Tim_Bodeen@fws.gov
Phone Number: 541-493-2612
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/malheur/
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  History
Continued . . .

Archaeological research Use of the refuge increased around 6,000 years ago when the climate became wetter and the marsh expanded outward into areas previously covered by greasewood. The first documented use of the spring at refuge headquarters begins around this time and continues into the historic period.

About 3,500 years ago, small villages were built along the edge of the marsh and river. At one such village, people ate rabbit, fish, and large game animals. They harvested grass and juniper seeds and made fires using conifer and sagebrush. This village was abandoned when an eruption at Diamond Craters blanketed the landscape with hot cinders.

A drought around 1,400 years ago caused shrinking of the lakes and marsh. However, the number of sites distributed across the refuge and surrounding the lakes increased after this drought when moist conditions returned to the area. Lake, marsh and upland resources were abundant and sites from this period are found around the lakes and extend into the Blitzen Valley in increasing numbers. This may be the period of most intensive use of resources in the basin. Villages of mat-covered shelters called wickiups sprang up along virtually every pond and marsh. The descendents of these people, the Wada'tika--Northern Paiute of the Harney Basin--occupied the area when the first Europeans arrived.


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