Arborglyph Project 2017

It all started when...

In August, a dedicated group of 14 volunteers from throughout California and Nevada spent three days in the Carson Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest documenting the past lives of sheepherders. Using aspen trees as their canvas and ten-penny nails, fingernails and small pocketknives to carve, the herders left a record (arborglyphs) of their experiences trailing sheep in the Sierra Nevada Mountains for over a century.

The project was a collaborative effort between Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association (ESIA) and the United States Forest Service (USFS). Kalie Crews, District Archeologist and Big Pine residents Nancy Hadlock and Richard Potashin (Aspenluv) coordinated the project. This marked the 4th year ESIA has sponsored an arborglyph documentation project. The crew included archeological technicians, history buffs, site stewards and individuals who worked on previous arborglyph efforts. Four groups of volunteers fought through dense underbrush and dodged thunderstorms to record 125 trees scribed with over 223 individual carvings.  A number of carvings were disfigured by time or by more recent carvings left by hunters, lovers and recreationists.

For the full report, please click here

ESIA and Humboldt-Toyiable National Forest volunteers documenting the arborglyphs