Oregon Trail

Paul Boehlke / AP

A fluke discovery of human bones protruding from a badger hole in southwestern Idaho has investigators trying to determine if they have discovered a double homicide or the disturbed grave of young 19th century pioneers who died going west on the nearby Oregon Trail, authorities said Tuesday.

Authorities thought one body was at the site in high desert sagebrush steppe discovered by state fish and game workers who stumbled across the bones while out on a routine patrol.

This interview was originally broadcast in September, 2014

The rugged coastline of the Pacific Northwest is dotted with historic cities and sea ports. But today’s well-established metropolises belie the imagination and tenacity that it took to settle this wild and remote region.

On a recent weekend, a group of reenactors gathered to bring to life the Oregon Trail -- that 2,000 mile route from the Missouri River to the great Northwest. But instead of going back to the 19th century, this group took its inspiration from a more recent era.

Zeke Robinson

Federal officials along with a southern Idaho Boy Scout troop have started restoration efforts on a section of the Oregon Trail plundered by artifact hunters this summer.

Last week, scouts working with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management began restoration work on stretches of the historic trail near Burley.

Earlier this year, BLM investigators began looking into the removal of artifacts protected by the Archaeological Resource Protection Act. The Times-News reports the law carries prison time and fines even for first-time offenders.

Zeke Robinson

The Oregon Trail passed through Idaho for hundreds of miles 150 years ago. In some places you can still see the ruts from the wagons that brought people west.

Last week archaeologist Suzann Henrikson drove a local historian and a local Boy Scout leader out to see a well-preserved part of the trail near the Snake River. Henrikson works for the Bureau of Land Management in Burley. She and her guests found something unexpected.

“Hundreds and hundreds of holes dug directly in the corridor of the trail, the ruts themselves. It’s just ghastly,” Henrikson says.