Surveys – 14 Subsistance


In his surveys and excavations throughout Oregon and adjacent regions the writer has noted that wherever a fairly permanent archaeological record of seasonal occupation has been found, there generally occurs an association of projectile points with milling implements of one kind or another. Projectile points and flaking debris do occur without the association in contexts suggesting hunting camps, but more commonly are found at game lookouts or at quarries. The evidence suggests the thesis that the prevalence of food plants are more Important than game in developing recurrent seasonal patterns of land use intensive enough to leave a cultural record of the activity at campsites in open country. Caves and shelters are more likely to preserve records of occupation by hunters only.

The absence of miling stones, eg., manos, metates, mortars. etc., throughout the Park and adjacent regions led the survey party to search f or concentrations of plant foods suitable for human consumption. Only in Munson Valley in the vicinity of Park Headquarters was a concentration of contiguous plant communities containing edible species found, i.e., huckleberries, wild onions, and carex roots and stems. These foods may have been in sufficient quantities to supply daily dietary requirements, but are not in sufficient quantities to harvest for winter use. Only the dense stands of manzanita on Grayback Ridge and Crater Peak produced a food berry in quantity. We found no indication that these areas were visited.

As a further check on plant distributions, the survey party enlisted the aid of Mr. Ken Walchek, Seasonal Ranger-Biologist, who supervised plant community transects at Sphagnum Bog, the the flats near Red Cone, Discovery Point, Red Blanket Creek near Bald Top, and Annie Creek about one-half mile north of the south entrance. Particular attention was paid to the relative abundance of ethnobotanic species listed by Colville (1897). These studies confirmed the hypothesis that the Park was very deficient in food plants. Mr. Walchek keyed out the plants collected during the study, and wrote the writer, (August 19, 1963). “I should also point out that our survey was by no means complete and we do not have a thorough listing of all the plants present; however I think that you have enough negative evidence to indicate that the Park is lacking in plants having a high carbohydrate composition suitable for human consumption.

Comparison of the list of Park flora compiled by Wynd (1963) with the Colville list show that 20 of the 88, 24%, species listed, by Colville are present in the Park; 37, 42%, of the remaining species are matched by related Park species; and 29,` 33%, are not presernt (the remaining species were not listed by Wyne). Nearly all the ecomically important plants, both food and as materials for textiles or other products e.g. pond lily, camas, arrowhead bullrush, tule, nettle, are missing from the Park environs. It is obvious that the most important factor for deternining seasonal occupation or use is lacking.

The faunal distribution within the Park does not appear to have any unusual features. The dense colonies of golden-mantled ground squirrels and chipmunks at viewpoints throughout the park where they appear to be a greater attraction for tourists than the scenery makes a distorted picture of their relative numerical abundance, which is scarce. The black bear, Eurarctos americanus, is a prominent member of the Park fauna, but whether its present population reflects prehistoric population densities is unknown. The Klamath Grizzly, Ursus horriblis var.  U. Klammathensis Mirriam, and the Grey Wolf Canis lupus, are no longer present in Oregon. Gatschet reports (189O:xxiv) that the Klamath hunted mountain sheep and antelope, but Bailey (1936) does not include the Park within their ranges,.

Black-tailed deer (Odoccileus virginianus) range throughout the Park during the summer. Mule deer Odocoileus hemionus macrotis of the interstate herd range the eastern slopes of the Park in the summer months. The survey sighted several of these animals near the rim in the vicinity of Mt. Scott, but sighted only one west of the divide near Red Cone, A few individuals of the once-abundant elk, or wapiti, (Cervus canadeneis roosevelti) range the heavily timbered areas around Union Peak. The survey party noted fresh tracks throughout the region, and a Park employee reported a sighting from the Peak.

The chipped stone projectile points discussed above (pp. 6-9) indicate very strongIy that hunting was the only aboriginal economic activity persued within the Park. It is quite probable that the deer and elk herds were the major attractions which drew hunters into the area. Hunting conditions within the Park are nearly ideal. The writer does not pretend to be a huntsman, yet he was able several times to close in on buck deer to within easy bow shot, 30 paces or less, by quietly approaching them upwind and from above; bucks were far more wary than the does, who seemed almost indifferent to human, traffic.

Fishing could not have been important at any time, although the sources of many streams rise within the Park. The streams are small and swift, and the deep steep-walled canyons in which they are confined make access difficult. No migratory species of fish ascend the streams as far as the Park for spawning,

Very few ducks or other waterfowl visit the lake, and the hunting of these species was undoubtedly nonexistent.


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