Laura Woodworth-Ney, Historian
History Chair, Idaho State University

Laura Woodworth-NeyJohn – Please give us a brief overview of the historical significance of the Oregon Trail.
Laura – I think there are two main reasons that students should care about the Oregon Trail today. One is this was a significant migration of people across a continent that resulted in the acquisition of territory. Without this migration – and it’s voluntary. It’s a voluntary migration which makes it interesting and without that the US would not have had as good a chance of acquiring the Oregon country – it certainly would not have happened for commercial reasons because the British were the preeminent traders in the region so that presence means the US acquires this significant amount of territory. So that is one significant reason. The other reason is that it is responsible for settling the region in between – the settled regions in the middle part of the country and the far west and so the combination of those two efforts lead to its significance ultimately.

John – What are the numbers and who were these people?
Laura – We are talking about a quarter of a million people travel the Oregon Trail between 1840 and the Civil War which is considered to be the settler period and most of those ultimately go to California for the gold rush and perhaps 40,000 of those are going to Utah as part of the Mormon migration and then the remainder to the Willamette Valley and other places in Oregon.

John – Who were these people and why did they want to come?
Laura – For the Oregon Trail initially they are homesteaders. They are looking for opportunities that they don’t have in Illinois, in Indiana, in the upper Midwest. They are daughters or sons of prominent farmers in some cases or people who just are down on their luck, don’t have other opportunities available. In the early years of the Oregon Trail they had to be wealthy enough to outfit a wagon which was a significant capital outlay, they had to be wealthy enough to buy an oxen team which is why the Mormon migrants are not using wagons. They are using hand carts which are less expensive. So they are middle class people looking for additional opportunity.

John – What kinds of hardships? And what percentage of these emigrants didn’t make it?
Laura – The most significant risk on the trail is disease. For almost all of the years that the trail is active prior to the Civil War, disease is the most significant threat. Cholera is a significant problem, measles, small pox of course. Those diseases that had been in the general population are just transferred on the trail and the trail is not an isolated pioneer experience that we often think of when we see movies about it. This is a crowded camp site and the combination of lack of proper sterile methods combined with this significant population moving on the trail create very significant disease problems in ’47, ’48, ’49. Those years are the years where there is the most traffic and where disease is being passed from wagon train to wagon train when up to 500 people are camping at a single site and so disease is a big problem.

For children there are lots of other dangers though. Falling into the campfire, drinking the medicine that the family has brought along and finding it in the wagon and drinking it and dying. Several accounts of that in diaries of two year olds drinking the very toxic medicines that they are transferring with them. Getting shot accidentally. This is a very well endowed group of people in terms of the number of weapons they are bringing with them. It is probably the best outfitted single migration in American history. Most wagon families with their wagon have two guns at least with them and so children are often accidently shot as a result of that. So accidents are the number one threat for children. Disease the number one threat for adults. Indian attacks are a very minor threat on the trail. There are only a few years in the 1860’s where Indian attacks might be a threat to travel.

John – Indian attacks get a lot of publicity but they weren’t a major problem. What did spur some of the Indian attacks that did happen?
Laura – When Indian attacks are a problem, the Idaho stretch of the trail is the most dangerous, the stretch through southern Idaho and that is because the Shoshone Bannock tribes had been under considerable pressure from settlers coming north from Utah and coming across the trail for a number of decades and their supplies are greatly diminished in those years. So by the 1860’s the Shoshone Bannock are frustrated and starving and the very rare attacks on wagon trains are the result of those frustrations. But for the most part this is a very peaceful trail and most tribal people are trading peaceably with Oregon Trail travelers and providing aid to Oregon Trail travelers. That would be the more common experience but there are a couple of instances in 1862 for example where there are attacks on the trail that are well publicized and that becomes a view of the trail that is inaccurate.

John – So in those early years it would be more accurate to say there was probably more assistance in the early years from the Native Americans.
Laura – Definitely

John – Describe those early relations with the Native Americans with the first few wagon trains coming through.
Laura – This is a trade opportunity for both parties. Tribes are often interested in trading with these wagon trains. They are bringing supplies that might not be available immediately or they are providing assistance in fording streams or in procuring food along the trail. The early years in the 1840’s for example would be characterized by this friendly interaction with local tribal people and into the late ‘40’s until the number of emigrants becomes so overwhelming that these tribes are sickened because of the introduction of small pox for example or other threats and then that relationship deteriorates.

John – What about the role that women played on the trail?
Laura – Women are really taking their domestic role from the household that was established in their stationary home onto the trail. They are responsible for taking care of children, they are responsible for cooking, they are responsible for gathering wood, for gathering water. Men generally once the camp site is set up will try to hunt or plan the next day’s activities, tend to the horses, do the heavy labor. Women often with the help of children gather what food they could. They gathered wood, they boiled water and they did a lot of physical labor as well in maintaining that campsite and then of course women are giving birth on the trail. We don’t hear much about that unless it happens to be a diarist who mentions that a child has been born but there is very little said about any kind of pregnancy experience on the trail because in the 19th century it was inappropriate to talk about that - even in a diary- so women are rarely mentioning pregnancy but they mention the birth of a child and for historians reading those diaries sometimes it comes as a shock that this woman who has been writing about her experience on the trail all of a sudden has given birth and just happens to mention this on one day and then the next day she’s back to work.

John – How hard a trip was this on the women and children and everybody in general?
Laura – It’s a very difficult trip but it varied a lot. Some families had an easier experience than others. It really depended on the time of year, it depended on the year. Some of the mid-40’s years, 1840s years were probably easier because there are fewer people on the trail. There is a more friendly relationship perhaps with native people on the trail and then the trail has been established enough that there are guides along the way. Travelers are communicating with each other by creating signs, writing in pencil on bleached bones for example pointing out where the water is unsafe to drink or pointing out short cuts. And so by the mid-1840’s some of these trail travelers experience an easier time. But for the most part this is a very physically hard labor to move this wagon across the plains and do it in time to avoid winter and so it is difficult for everyone. For women the combination of taking care of children, losing children on the trail is perhaps the most difficult aspect of it, and having to leave that child behind – buried behind along the trail.

John – People have a misconception that they are riding the wagons. Typically they travel on foot.
Laura – Most of the time they are walking because they have a lot of equipment and a lot of supplies in their wagon. The idea was you would need those supplies when you arrived in Oregon or in California to set up your homestead and so it would be a period of time before you could support yourself in your new location and so they are trying to get there with as much as they can. The worst part of the trip is where we are right now, in southern Idaho across either the lava flows or the desert. Both are very difficult. Livestock has started to become dehydrated. It was difficult to find grass particularly in the heavy travelled years and as a result of that they are dumping all kinds of stuff off of the wagon because the livestock can’t pull it any longer and that means everyone walks and everyone walks in the most difficult part of the journey. They have to start out riding when they start in Nebraska but by the time they get to southern Idaho most wagon trains are walking unless someone is very sick and then they would be riding. And they are carrying children, their children are walking, sometimes children are falling off the back of wagons, getting lost. There are stories about children getting lost taking a horse, riding away and they can’t find this child for three days and that delays the wagon party. Lots of stories about that.

John – What are the significant challenges in the Idaho portion of the Oregon Trail?
Laura – The most significant challenge is lack of water. The water that does exist along the trail is of course in the Snake River for the most part and it is at the bottom of the canyon and mostly inaccessible. There are some stream sites. Those become major stopping off points on the Oregon Trail because they are accessible. One example of that is the Massacre Rocks area. The water is more accessible there so that becomes a very significant camping site but that leads to disease because everyone is camping in the same location and so the combination of the lack of water, disease problems, contaminated water in the places where there is water along the southern Idaho stretch make it difficult.

Also, the period of time that they are in Idaho is the warmest period of time, of course, in this part of the country and so they are facing 90 degree days and their livestock become more dehydrated as a result of the heat and then lack of supplies.

John – How did this route get established in the first place? Why this route?
Laura – It was the result of a number of explorations attempts in the early 19th century and then the work of missionaries like Marcus Whitman who with his wife, Narcissa and Eliza and Henry Spaulding are the first to traverse parts of the Oregon Trail in a wagon-like apparatus. They weren’t able to take a covered wagon the entire route but they do take a wheeled vehicle across the plains to where they ultimately settle. The Spauldings in northern Idaho and the Whitmans in the Walla Walla area. They establish much of the trail in that process. A Whitman went back to Washington and brought a significant number of travelers in 1843 on what becomes the main Oregon Trail route so it is a combination of things that establish it over time.

John – There seem to be a lot of different routes other than the main Oregon Trail. Why do we have so many different divergent routes and what are they?
Laura – I would argue that actually the trail becomes a number of trails in southern Idaho. There are so many in fact – some of the major ones are named but a lot of them we don’t even know where they were or what the names would be. Goodale cut-off is one that we know about that traverses the northern part of the river rather than the southern part, south of the river. Part of the reason all of these trails diverge at Fort Hall – much of this divergence takes place in the Fort Hall region – is because it is a difficult journey and by the late 1840’s everyone is looking for a better way. The southern Idaho route is considered to be the most difficult part of the trail, everybody knows this, it’s hot and dry and there is little water and so they are looking for a faster way to get to Boise or into the Boise area and that is really what is driving the divergence of the trail in southern Idaho and in what is now Cassia County where the California Trail also cuts off and heads south at Raft River. But there were lots of different ways to do that and there were lots of efforts to find a better way. But most travelers still stay on the main route which goes from Fort Hall south along the river and crosses at Three Mile Crossing because the Goodale cut off while it does shorten the journey, it crosses significant lava fields which were very difficult for livestock and also wagons and the settlers in that part of Idaho found wagons that had been torn apart for years after the trail is no longer the most common route.

The trail is actually in use. The Goodale is also a stage coach trail and is in use until the late 19th century but most travelers, despite the fact that southern Idaho has all of these divergent trails – the Hudspeth cut off and Goodale cut off and then the various trails that lead to the California route – most travelers are sticking to the main trails.

John – Talk about the Oregon Trail is actually the Oregon and California Trail until you reach that divergence.
Laura – Until 1849 the Oregon Trail is headed predominantly to the Willamette Valley and once the Gold Rush takes place in 1848, 1849 then the majority of travelers on the Oregon Trail will be headed to California and so it’s really a misnomer to say that it is the Oregon Trail because it becomes the California Trail once those travelers turn off – and they diverge just south of what is now Raft River Idaho and they head into Nevada and into the Sierras ultimately.

That cut-off becomes a major thoroughfare and it remains so today. It’s not exactly where the freeway cuts off to head south into Utah but it is near that interchange and so the interstate follows the Oregon Trail and that cut off is represented with the I-86, I-84 interchange that heads south into Utah and ultimately to Nevada so we still see that imprint of that cut off there. There was a joke on the Oregon Trail even in the time period that the character of people going to California was very different than that of the people going to Oregon and this is of course perpetuated by people who are going to Oregon who are saying disparaging things about the miners who are going to California but the California demographic is quite a bit different. They are mostly male, they are looking for gold, they are not looking for long term settlement, so while the Oregon Trail to Oregon is populated by families it is still male dominated but there are more women on that part of that trail than are going to California and that leads to all kinds of joked about California travelers going to California because they don’t know how to read and the way to Oregon by then is marked with signs but they don’t know how to read those so they end up going to California.

John – Talk about Fort Hall. What part did it play along the trail?
Laura – Fort Hall had been a trading post for a while prior to the establishment of the Oregon Trail. Nathaniel Wyeth who was a Bostonian trader is interested in the American fur trade in the rocky mountain region and established the post in 1834. In response to a mistake really, he has a contract with the Hudson Bay Company which was a British Fur Trading firm, the most significant fur trading firm in the region in the 1830’s. He has a contract with them to establish a trade arrangement but in the end they don’t honor it or he doesn’t live up to his part of the bargain and he’s left with $3,000.00 worth of trade goods that he doesn’t know what to do with and he’s in the region so to get rid of these he establishes Fort Hall. I have always thought that choice – to establish Fort Hall in the bottoms of the Snake River on what is now the Shoshone-Bannock Indian Reservation was a star crossed choice in many ways.

He has a difficult time with this fort. It’s never very lucrative for Wyeth. It’s taken over by the Hudson Bay Company some years later and then when it is a Hudson Bay Company post it serves as a stopping off place on the Oregon Trail. The Hudson Bay Company though is a British trading firm. They really don’t care about American settlement. They are not trying to foster this. In fact, it’s a threat to their presence in Oregon and ultimately they will be forced to leave the region because in 1846 in a peaceable agreement between Great Britain and the United States the Oregon country will be transferred to the U.S. It had been jointly occupied prior to that and so the Hudson Bay Company really doesn’t have an interest other than economic in outfitting these settlers. So, it is an ironic relationship there but it is a significant stopping off place until it closes in 1856 and at that time it falls into disrepair although it continues in various capacities as a less important stage stop.

John – It was a goal, a landmark wasn’t it?
Laura – Absolutely.

John – Can you tell us what kind of landmark and how people looked forward to reaching Fort Hall?
Laura – It was really the only place where they can have supplies, where they can meet other people and where they can take a break between Soda Springs and the rest of the most arduous part of the journey. And so really diarists are very excited to see Fort Hall. It was a well-built structure. It would probably still be there if it had been well cared for. So it is noticeable on the landscape, they are looking forward to seeing it, they have an opportunity to trade and to rest for a few days which is what most travelers who chose to go there did. It plays a significant role in the landmarks of the trail and so for trail travelers they are keeping track of where they are according to landmarks like South Pass and Fort Hall and the Three Mile Crossing.

John – What about the Snake River Bottom as a regional site? At least it has been found. What were the choices there?
Laura – Fort Hall is where the Goodale cut off begins. Settlers have to choose between heading south along the main part of the Oregon Trail or going north across Goodale cut off which is established later and is not well travelled until the 1850’s. They also are in an area that is more fertile than they will see again for quite a while and so it is really the end of the very fertile region that they had been passing through. This starts in Soda Springs and becomes quite green and beautiful and then from Fort Hall on – either way they choose – it is not going to be that green again until they get closer to Oregon or California. And so travelers are saying quite disparaging things about southern Idaho between Fort Hall and what would today be the Washington/Oregon border region because it is so stark compared to what they had been used to seeing – and it is quite startling to them as well either way – the Goodale cut off heads across what is now Craters of the Moon, a very stark landscape even today and the southern stretch across a significant desert. So we’re hearing a lot about that from trail travelers.

John – What is left to see on the main Oregon Trail today?
Laura – The faint foundation marks of Fort Hall are still there. They are of course in the Snake River bottoms area on the tribal reservation. It is considered a sacred site by tribal people – that region – and they often do give tours of that area though. You can get permission to see it through the tribe. There are lots of other things to see though on the trail through southern Idaho. The main route of the trail still has a number of ruts that are viewable, certainly in the Massacre Rocks area on federal land. You can still see the ruts there. Because of the way the rocks are configured the ruts became very deep there because it was only two lanes of travel and so that led to deep enough ruts that they are still visible. And that is true along the trail except for where they have been plowed under or for other reasons. The trail follows the freeway and it is about three miles south of the interstate that heads across southern Idaho so at any given point you can leave the freeway and go find faint images of the trail. A lot of that is on private land.

John – Have we lost quite a bit of the trail?
Laura – We haven’t lost the main landmarks I would say. We still have some of the main landmarks that have been preserved. Certainly in Wyoming and in parts of Montana and in Idaho but for some of the smaller stopping off places on the trail we have lost some of those to private development. We still have Register rock. It is still visible in southern Idaho and it is protected but there were other places like that where pioneers stopped, carved their names in rocks and trees and those sites have largely been lost – or they are still extant but on private land.

John – And of course we lost the American Falls.
Laura – Right. We lost American Falls when the reservoir was built in 1927.

John – The Daughters of the American Revolution have a really large monument. Do you know the background on that? At the base of the dam?
Laura – That was placed there to commemorate the Oregon Trail but also to commemorate the site of the original American Falls town because they moved the town. They moved the town from what was going to be the bottom of the reservoir to its present location.

John – Do you have some personal ties to the Trail?
Laura – I do actually. The trail between Massacre Rocks and Coldwater and the Raft river area cut across family homestead property and it was homesteaded by my great grandfather in the late 19th Century and so the trail figured prominently in family lore. They found all kinds of things along the trail, my great grandparents and grandparents did. By the time I was a kid much of that had been already mined and my grandfather plowed up a significant amount of the ruts that were visible at the time but there are still some places along on the family homestead where you could make out where the trail was originally.

John – Did that have any part of the fostering of your interest in history?
Laura – I think the stories that my grandparents told about interactions with tribal people in the area, about the Oregon Trail and also about other historical events in the region did foster that interest because it didn’t seem to me when I was in school that western U.S. history played a very prominent role. Most of our history was about Virginia, the civil war, the founding of the United States at Jamestown and it seemed to me that there was this other history that was not really being told that I heard at home but not in school and so I think that it did foster that interest. My grandparents loved history. We would drive around in my grandfather’s pick up and we would go look for arrowheads and he would show me where all the homestead sites on the property were because over time they would establish a homestead and then for whatever reason they would abandon that one and move to a new one and so there are a number of these homestead sites that we would visit and he would talk about the Oregon Trail and about native American encampments and what he thought they were and where they were located.

John – So what does the Oregon Trail mean to you personally?
Laura – It does actually have a personal meaning because I knew about it before I became a scholar and so it had a personal meaning. I would say it is almost like a memory that is handed down through generations to family members who either traversed the trail or have some personal connection so it is like the story your grandparents tell about how difficult it was to go to school. There was that culture in the family. Well, at least you’re not on the Oregon Trail or we didn’t have running water or the stories of the homesteads. My grandmother would say things like I don’t know why anybody would want to go camping. We’ve worked really hard to make sure you don’t have to live that way and so there was this tradition that they had worked really hard and that life had been more difficult and so there is that personal connection.

And then as an historian I understand better the context for that story. But I also understand that pioneers had a vested interest in telling that story, that it served a function, a family memory function and that preserving the trail and preserving parts of the trail was part of that process. It was part of an almost a nationalization process and I understand that better as an historian but I have this duel relationship to the trail.

John – What relevance does the trail have to people today? Why should we care about it today?
Laura – I think a lot of people are very interested in it partly because of the connection to this lost period. I think there’s some nostalgia about the trail on the one hand. On the other hand I don’t think there was anything to be very nostalgic about from the perspective of an historian. This was a very difficult arduous trip. Granted, a lot of people successfully did it. It was a significant migration but it also came at a cost. We did pay a price for that in Native American relations, in the effort expended to once Oregon and California become states and the effort expended to solidify that central part of the country which occupies the next fifty years of American history to some extent. And so I think that it remains significant today because of the choices we made as a nation and as individuals in that time period are still determining land use issues, questions of water rights, questions of how to use the river, the Snake River of course now serving all kinds of multiple functions in our economy.

John – A lot of the major cities are along what was the Oregon Trail.
Laura – Until Coeur d’Alene Idaho boomed recently in the last ten years or so about two thirds of Idaho’s population lived within twenty-five miles of the Oregon Trail which I think is a very telling statistic. The only reason that is not entirely true now is because northern Idaho is having a boom associated with the movement of people in Washington but for southern Idaho, anything south of Riggins Idaho still two thirds of the population live within twenty-five miles of the Snake river and within twenty-five miles of the Oregon trail – mostly because most of the population lives in the Treasure Valley and close to the Oregon Trail sites in the Boise region. But absolutely, the connection between transportation, available places for homesteading and infrastructure that was built after the Oregon Trail – all of that is connected to that initial transportation route.

John – How would you sum up the Oregon Trail experience?
Laura – I think that experience changes over time. Certainly we are seeing that when we look at the diary entries. I think the early years are homesteaders very excited about this opportunity. A lot of them do achieve some success. Coming to Oregon in 1850 for example, the donation land laws passed in 1850 which gives sellers up to 320 acres. It is a significant amount of land in the Willamette Valley so those donation land allotments become the basis for wealth in the Willamette valley. There is a lot of optimism and excitement in those early years. It changes after the California Trail because of a lot of gold miners don’t find that success. They are headed back – there is a back traffic on the Oregon Trail after 1849 – and that changes the tenor of the trail and certainly disease as well. So, it is hard to generalize about one experience but the experience that most people equate with the trail I think is that family moving on the trail to Oregon and establishing a successful homestead. That was not the norm. Most people on the trail are young males headed to California and then the trail changes again after the civil war because of the construction of the transcontinental railroad – although there is still activity on the trail until probably the 1890’s.

John – What is the lasting legacy of the Oregon Trail?
Laura – The main route is still with us in the transportation networks connecting Portland to St. Louis and connecting St. Louis to California. Those transportation networks are represented by interstates and by railroads today but it still remains the main thoroughfare. There are diversions from it along the route but for the most part, certainly in southern Idaho that route is preserved with the main transportation networks. The Oregon short line railroad followed the Oregon Trail to some extent certainly and the combination of the fact that the trail follows water and the following transportation networks will all follow the trail means that this becomes a part of the landscape. So the Oregon Trail is still there. It also followed original Native American routes and so this is the main route for transferring people and goods across the continent for as long as anyone can substantiate.

John – Are there any other legacies specifically for Idaho?
Laura – Idaho and the Oregon Trail as a state have a mixed relationship with the trail. Most trail travelers cannot wait to get out of Idaho. This is not a stopping off place. Fort Hall is a place you get supplies and you get out and Boise is a welcome respite because you are getting closer to your destination. As a result of that Idaho – southern Idaho at least – acquires a reputation for not having good settlement opportunity and that reputation won’t be replaced until the reclamation service establishes or puts significant infrastructure into irrigation after the turn of the 20th Century. So for Idaho the Oregon Trail really establishes it as a crossroads. It had already been a crossroads for Native American activity, Fort Hall really the center for Native American activity in the early 19th Century. So establishment of a post there is not coincidental. It is the result of native activity in the region. So the trail represents that. But this is a desert. It’s a crossroads but it is not a destination and that hampered Idaho’s development until the 20th Century and to some extent still today because the resources are too sparse.

John – Any other significant aspect of the Trail you think the general public would be interested in?
Laura - There is a lot about the trail we still don’t know despite the fact that we’ve written so many articles about it, that we’ve done a lot of studies of the trails itself. There are a lot of children and people buried along the trail whose remains have not been recovered, who have not been identified, who have not been repatriated back to their families. Certainly a lot of that work remains still to be done. There are still mysteries that the trail holds. We don’t know where all these cut offs were and we’re still working on that.

John – Talk about the numbers of people buried along the trail and where they are buried.
Laura – Thousands of people were buried along the Oregon Trail. Thousands of people die along the trail mostly from disease but some from accidents. These are wagon parties that don’t have time for a burial off site and so they are buried very close to the trail and by the end of the 1840’s and early 1850’s diarists are talking about that. It is a trail of graves. They are following graves all the way to Oregon. If they didn’t know where to go they could find that the trail was marked with the graves of people who died the year before. Now those markers are not there later. They are gone by the civil war. They are gone by the 1860’s because they are marked with temporary wood markings, rocks or whatever they can find and as a result we really don’t know where they are. We don’t know where they all are but certainly thousands of people buried along the trail.

John – They actually buried people in the trail itself and had the wagons roll over it?
Laura – That probably would have been inadvertent because they are trying to protect these sites as much as possible, they are trying to provide a proper burial for the people in their wagon party who have died but because of the sheer number of people on the trail – 70,000 in a couple of year period then those sites are ultimately run over by the trail or buried by the trail or scavenged by animals unfortunately too because these are often shallow graves and so even wagon parties that follow several weeks later will find that those grave sites have been disturbed by animals in the area.

John – There was another alternative that was what?
Laura – There is the north alternative and it followed the north side of the river instead of the south side of the river in southern Idaho from Fort Hall. The ideas was that this would be easier but the north alternate really never takes off as a significant option because of the lava flows on the north side of the river and because it is not any better in terms of water supply than the south side. It is actually more difficult because there are no stopping off sites. But by the 1860’s there are significant stopping off sites, supply routes on the southern side and those don’t become established on the northern side. There is debate about how much that northern route is used but it would have crossed what is now Minidoka County in southern Idaho.

John – Later there was a stage stop built somewhere near Malad Gorge?
Laura – Right and that’s a little bit later period during the stage era which is also responsible for the Stricker Store for example which is a stage stop on the southern route and becomes a major icon in the area.

John – How soon did that become a major stopping point? That was a significant camping area just because of Rock Creek, right?
Laura – Right. And it establishes a stage route. The rock creek store is established ultimately as a stage route. It becomes important by the 1860’s but it’s not very important to the earlier period. It is established later. It is significant until the end of the 19th century.

John – Was it a camping site?
Laura – It is a camping spot, it’s a supply spot, it’s a stopping off spot on the Oregon Trail because there is Oregon Trail travel until after the civil war and into the 1870’s, 1880’s and we do actually have photos of that trail travel because by then photography is more prevalent but the Stricker Store serves a myriad of purposes. It is local supply for people who live in the region and it is also significant stopping off for any traveler.