Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Yankee Fork of the Salmon River

The Yankee Fork of the Salmon River meant I was getting close. Over the years of my life in Idaho as a guide on the Salmon, I remember driving by the Yankee Fork and never stopping. I remember feeling anxious to get to the guide shack in Salmon, so I always blew by the Yankee Fork. I remember an old broken remnant of a dam that the water was always piling up on and that's about it. Below is a great shot of the old Sunbeam Dam, courtesy of Osprey Packs

The dam was just upstream from the Yankee Fork. It was built to provide water for the mining operations on the Yankee Fork. The early history of area reads much like any other prospecting-based exploration of an unknown area. Eventually gold was discovered and mining began in earnest. That mining, especially in the WWII era, is a fascinating look at what humanity can do when it puts its mind to it. In 1939, the New York-based Silas Mason company was basically looking for gold. As fate would have it, they decided on a 5.5 mile stretch of the Yankee Fork as the site for their mining efforts. They then commissioned Bucyrus Erie to build a dredge in situ on the Yankee Fork, which when complete would provide the main means of mining that stretch of the Yankee Fork. Have a look at that dredge and how small everything else is around it. Tragically stupendous. Ultimately Simplot (see the first link top of the page) got left holding the bag. I'm unsure of their liability or how they came to assume it.

Wow. People can do the strangest things.


  1. Looks like a pretty spot to sit and enjoy nature.
    Sandy at Bridge and Beyond

  2. J here, stopping by from the #atozchallenge - where I am part of the A to Z Ambassador Team! (I'm a minion/volunteer under Arlee.)
    Don't forget our after party. The Reflections Linky List will open on Monday May 4th. (For links directly to posts, not to general blog addresses.)
    Great post. LOL! You know someone got paid to think that up. Facepalm. Great share.
    -J @JLenniDorner