Home On The Range

Letter from Mayor Home on the Range Near the end of what is commonly referred to as the Ice Age, as glaciers began to retreat to the north, large puddles of water were left standing. One of those puddles was Lake Bonneville, formed about 30,000 years ago. It was a fresh water lake that covered the northwestern deserts of Utah, Nevada and Southern Idaho. For about 15,000 years, that lake dominated the Great Basin. 15,000 years ago, a geological event occurred near Downey, Idaho, north, between Preston and Malad at Redrock Pass, which lowered the depth of Lake Bonneville by 300 feet in just days! The water flowed from Lake Bonneville to the Snake River and then on to the Columbia, emptying into the Pacific. This catastrophic event created Lake Provo, a lake with no outlet. This event gave rise to the Great Salt Lake, after 5,000 additional years of inflow only and evaporation. When the frontiersman Jim Bridger discovered the Great Salt Lake in 1825, there were thousands of bison roaming the shoreline in Hooper, Clinton, Sunset, West Point, Clearfield, Layton and Kaysville. In fact, the bison created a significant pathway along the western shoreline. We know that trail as the Bluff Road. Early pioneers named this region of north Davis County the Big Range as it provided excellent grazing for livestock, just as it did for bison. Sadly, five years after Bridger’s visit, during the winter of 1830-31 severe snows in the valley stranded the beasts. They died where they stood. The victims of starvation, on the Big Range, that winter. Their impact remained! In the 1850s, pioneers using the Oregon Trail discovered that it was possible to pass through Salt Lake on their way to the Oregon Territory to rest livestock and restock. Once accomplished, they continued northwest on that old bison-trampled path to the City of Rocks in Southern Idaho, rejoining the Oregon Trail blazed by John Freemont and Kit Carson. That lonesome bison route was renamed the Old Emigrant Trail. Perhaps you’ve discovered the monument to its existence at 2500 S Bluff Road. I am a boomer! As a boy I remember listening to the radio a lot. My mother loved a serial soap opera called Young Dr. Malone. I remember listening to Gunsmoke. Sheriff, Matt Dillon, was read by William Conrad. I was a big fan of Gene Autry, too. I loved to hear him sing. Although Bing Crosby was the first to record Home on the Range, I had a personal preference for Mr. Autry’s version of the song; lyrics written by Dr. Brewster M. Higley in 1872 under the title of My Western Home. Home on the Range would become the State Song of Kansas in 1948. It well could be Syracuse City’s anthem! “Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam[ed]…” We live on the range! We’re all “home on the range” the Big Range. Soon, from that meandering, bison-led trail, a new conveyance will arise, the North Davis Corridor. And, we can thank thousands of bison for the favor. Let’s commit now, to not let that “trail” divide us with “discouraging words”!   Michael Gailey, Mayor

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