Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Landowner Protects Historic Sites in Path of Power Project

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

(Charles Marion Russell, Public Domain)FORKS, WASHINGTON—Two years ago, Robert Zornes and his wife purchased a piece of land along the Columbia River. As it happened, the land contained a campsite and portage route on the Lewis and Clark Trail, and a cave containing prehistoric rock art and Indian burials sacred to the Yakama people. Zornes has been diligently working to keep the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency that sells power from dams on the Columbia and Lower Snake rivers, from replacing a tower near the cave with one that would be taller, wider, and require blasting to construct. A BPA contractor has already bulldozed and destroyed a burial cairn on Yakama lands, despite plans to protect it, and so Zornes has denied the agency access to his property. “Our preference is no new towers. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The first tower should not have ever been placed on this historic and culturally rich and highly scenic bluff,” he explained.