Lake Bonneville

Lake Bonneville was a prehistoric lake made by rain and runoff from the streams that covered much of the Great Basin region. Most of the territory it covered was all of present-day Utah, and portions of Idaho and Nevada. Stream-built deltas formed at the mouths of major canyons. These include the flat-topped, steep-fronted landforms on which Utah State University is built. About 15,000 years ago the lake breached the divide at Red Rock Pass at the north end of Cache Valley, in Idaho. In the span of about nine months, about 135 cubic miles of water roared down the Snake River into the Columbia River dropping this enormous lake about 315 feet from the lake’s highest level.

The Anasazi

The Hisatsinom or Anasazi people occupied the Four Corners region including portions of Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona from 0–1300 AD. Evidence of these people’s existence is found only in what they left behind, deserted homes, desert walls etched with symbols and art, and the tools of daily life. The name Anasazi is a Navajo word meaning “Ancient Ones,” but the Pueblo lay claim to them as their ancestors and prefer they be referred to as Hisatsiom (ee-SAH-tse-nom) or “People of Long Ago.” Regardless, the Anasazi people disappeared quite suddenly around AD 1300.

The Northwestern Shoshone

Northwestern Shoshone were among the first to inhabit Seuhubeogoi, or “Willow River,” (now Cache Valley). A Numic-speaking people, migrating from northern Mexico to the Great Basin Region around 1000 AD, they formed small extended family groupings that traveled extensively as semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers to survive the harsh environment of the Great Basin desert. In the spring and summer, the Northwestern Shoshone traveled around southern Idaho and throughout Utah. During these months, they spent their time gathering seeds, pine nuts, roots, and berries and socializing with each other. This was the time when women talked about the latest happenings of the tribe. In late summer, they dug roots and hunted small game. In early autumn, they migrated to the region near what is now Salmon, Idaho to fish and dry salmon for winter use. Then they moved into western Wyoming to hunt big game such as buffalo, elk, deer, moose, and antelope for food, clothing, and shelter. An area near what is now Franklin, Idaho, in northern Cache Valley was a permanent wintering home for the Northwestern Shoshone. The land along the Bear River provided a natural place for the Shoshone to make their homes since it was in a natural depression with abundant willows and brush, which served as wind and snow breaks. Additionally, there are hot springs and fish and wild game were plentiful during the winter months.