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IDAHO

“Flame-Bearer,” sometimes applied to him, refers, however, not to Ida, but to his son Theodric (d. 587).

See J. R. Green, Making of England, vol. i. (London, 1897).

IDAHO, a western state of the United States of America, situated between 42° and 49° N. lat. and 111° and 117° W. long. It is bounded N. by British Columbia and Montana, E. by Montana and Wyoming, S. by Utah and Nevada, and W. by Oregon and Washington. Its total area is 83,888 sq. m., of which 83,354 sq. m. are land surface, and of this 41,851.55 sq. m. were in July 1908 unappropriated and unreserved public lands of the United States, and 31,775.7 sq. m. were forest reserves, of which 15,153.5 sq. m. were reserved between the 1st of July 1906 and the 1st of July 1907.

Physical Features.—Idaho’s elevation above sea-level varies from

738 ft. (at Lewiston, Nez Perce county) to 12,078 ft. (Hyndman Peak, on the boundary between Custer and Blaine counties), and its mean elevation is about 4500 ft. The S.E. corner of the wedge-shaped surface of the state is a part of the Great Basin region of the United States. The remainder of the state is divided by a line running S.E. and N.W., the smaller section, to the N. and E., belonging to the Rocky Mountain region, and the larger, S. and W. of this imaginary line, being a part of the Columbia Plateau region. The topography of the Great Basin region in Idaho is similar to that of the same region in other states (see Nevada); in Idaho it forms a very small part of the state; its mountains are practically a part of the Wasatch Range of Utah; and the southward drainage of the region (into Great Salt Lake, by Bear river) also separates it from the other parts of the state. The Rocky Mountain region of Idaho is bounded by most of the state’s irregular E. boundary—the Bitter Root, the Cœur d’Alene and the Cabinet ranges being parts of the Rocky Mountain System. The Rocky Mountain region reaches across the N. part of the state (the Panhandle), and well into the middle of the state farther S., where the region is widest and where the Salmon River range is the principal one. The region is made up in general of high ranges deeply glaciated, preserving some remnants of ancient glaciers, and having fine “Alpine” scenery, with many sharp peaks and ridges, U-shaped valleys, cirques, lakes and waterfalls. In the third physiographic region, the Columbia plateau, are the Saw Tooth, Boisé, Owyhee and other rugged ranges, especially on the S. and W. borders of the region. The most prominent features of this part of the state are the arid Snake river plains and three mountain-like elevations—Big, Middle and East Buttes—that rise from their midst. The plains extend from near the S.E. corner of the state in a curved course to the W. and N.W. for about 350 m. over a belt 50 to 75 m. wide, and cover about 30,000 sq. m. Where they cross the W. border at Lewiston is the lowest elevation in the state, 738 ft. above the sea. Instead of being one plain formed by erosion, this region is rather a series of plains built up with sheets of lava, several thousand feet deep, varying considerably in elevation and in smoothness of surface according to the nature of the lava, and being greater in area than any other lava beds in North America except those of the Columbia river, which are of similar formation and, with the Snake river plains, form the Columbia plateau. Many volcanic cones mark the surface, but by far the most prominent among them are Big Butte, which rises precipitously 2350 ft. above the plain (7659 ft. above the sea) in the E. part of Blaine county, and East Butte, 700 ft. above the plain, in the N.W. part of Bingham county. Middle Butte (400 ft. above the plain, also in Bingham county) is an upraised block of stratified basalt. The Snake river (which receives all the drainage of Idaho except small amounts taken by the Spokane, the Pend Oreille and the Kootenai in the N., all emptying directly into the Columbia, and by some minor streams of the S.E. that empty into Great Salt Lake, Utah) rises in Yellowstone National Park a few miles from the heads of the Madison fork of the Missouri, which flows to the Gulf of Mexico, and the Green fork of the Colorado, which flows to the Gulf of California. It flows S.W. and then W. for about 800 m. in a tremendous cañon across southern Idaho; turns N. and runs for 200 m. as the boundary between Idaho and Oregon (and for a short distance between Idaho and Washington); turns again at Lewiston (where it ceases to be the boundary, and where the Clearwater empties into it) to the W. into a deep narrow valley, and joins the Columbia in S.E. Washington. Practically all the valley of the Snake from Idaho Falls in S.E. Idaho (Bingham county) to the mouth is of cañon character, with walls from a few hundred to 6000 ft. in height (about 650 m. in Idaho). The finest parts are among the most magnificent in the west; among its falls are the American (Oneida and Blaine counties), and the Shoshone and the Salmon (Lincoln county). At the Shoshone Falls the river makes a sudden plunge of nearly 200 ft., and the Falls have been compared with the Niagara and Zambezi; a short distance back of the main fall is a cataract of 125 ft., the Bridal Veil. Between Henry’s Fork and Malade (or Big Wood) river, a distance of 200 m., the river apparently has no northern tributaries; but several streams, as the Camas, Medicine Lodge and Birch creeks, and Big and Little Lost rivers, which fail to penetrate the plain of the Snake after reaching its border, are believed to join it through subterranean channels. The more important affluents are the North Fork in the E., the Raft, Salmon Falls and the Bruneau in the S., the Owyhee and the Payette in the S.W., and the Salmon and Clearwater in the W. The scenery on some of these tributaries is almost as beautiful as that of the Snake, though lacking the grandeur of its greater scale. In 1904 electricity, generated by water-power from the rivers, notably the Snake, began to be utilized in mining operations. Scattered among the mountains are numerous (glacial) lakes. In the N. are: Cœur d’Alene Lake, in Kootenai county, about 30 m. long and from 2 to 4 m. wide, drained by the Spokane river; Priest Lake, in Bonner county, 20 m. long and about 10 m. wide; and mostly in Bonner, but partly in Kootenai county, a widening of Clark Fork, Lake Pend Oreille, 60 m. long and from 3 to 15 m. wide, which is spanned by a trestle of the Northern Pacific 8400 ft. long. Bear Lake, in the extreme S.E., lies partly in Utah. Mineral springs and hot springs are also a notable feature of Idaho’s physiography, being found in Washington, Ada, Blaine, Bannock, Cassia, Owyhee, Oneida, Nez Perce, Kootenai, Shoshone and Fremont counties. At Soda Springs in Bannock county are scores of springs whose waters, some ice cold and some warm, contain magnesia, soda, iron, sulphur, &c.; near Hailey, Blaine county, water with a temperature of 144° F. is discharged from numerous springs; and at Boisé, water with a temperature of 165° is obtained

from wells.
The fauna and flora of Idaho are similar in general to those of the

other states in the north-western part of the United States.

Climate.—The mean annual temperature of Idaho from 1898 to 1903 was 45.5° F. There are several distinct climate zones within the state. North of Clearwater river the climate is comparatively mild, the maximum in 1902 (96° F.) being lower than the highest temperature in the state and the minimum (−16°) higher than the lowest temperature registered. The mildest region of the state is the Snake river basin between Twin Falls and Lewiston, and the valley of the Boisé, Payette and Weiser rivers; here the mean annual temperature in 1902 was 52° F., the maximum was 106° F., and the minimum was −13° F. In the Upper Snake basin, in the Camas prairie and Lost river regions, the climate is much colder, the highest temperature in 1902 being 101° and the lowest −35° F. The mean annual rainfall for the entire state in 1903 was 16.60 in.; the highest amount recorded was at Murray, Shoshone county (37.70 in.) and the lowest was at Garnet, Elmore county (5.69 in.).

Agriculture.—The principal source of wealth in Idaho was in 1900 agriculture, but it had long been secondary to mining, and its development had been impeded by certain natural disadvantages. Except for the broad valleys of the Panhandle, where the soils are black in colour and rich in vegetable mould, the surface of the state is arid; the Snake river valley is a vast lava bed, covered with deposits of salt and sand, or soils of volcanic origin. And, apart from this, the farming country was long without transport facilities. The fertile northern plateaus, the Camas and Nez Perce prairies and the Palouse country—a wonderful region for growing the durum or macaroni wheat—until 1898 had no market nearer than Lewiston, 50-70 m. away; and even in 1898, when the railway was built, large parts of the region were not tapped by it, and were as much as 30 m. from any shipping point, for the road had followed the Clearwater. In the arid southern region, also, there was no railway until 1885, when the Oregon Short Line was begun. Like limitations in N. and S. had like effects: for years the country was devoted to live-stock, which could be driven to a distant market. Timothy was grown in the northern, and alfalfa in the southern region as a forage crop. Even at this earliest period, irrigation, simple and individual, had begun in the southern section, the head waters of the few streams in this district being soon surrounded by farms. Co-operation and colonization followed, and more ditching was done, co-operative irrigation canals were constructed with some elaborate and large dams and head gates. The Carey Act (1894) and the Federal Reclamation Act (1902) introduced the most important period of irrigation. Under the Carey Act the Twin Falls project, deriving water from the Snake river near Twin Falls, and irrigating more than 200,000 acres, was completed in 1903-1905. The great projects undertaken with Federal aid were: the Minidoka, in Lincoln and Cassia counties, of which survey began in March 1903 and construction in December 1904, and which was completed in 1907, commanding an irrigable area of 130,000-150,000 acres,[1] and has a diversion dam (rock-fill type) 600 ft. long, and 130 m. of canals and 100 m. of laterals; the larger Payette-Boisé project in Ada, Canyon and Owyhee counties (372,000 acres irrigable; 300,000 now desert; 60% privately owned), whose principal features are the Payette dam (rock-fill), 100 ft. high and 400 ft. long, and the Boisé dam (masonry), 33 ft. high and 400 ft. long, 200 m. of canals, 100 m. of laterals, a tunnel 1100 ft. long and 12,500 h.p. transmitted 29 m., 3000 h.p. being necessary to pump to a height of 50-90 ft. water for the irrigation of 15,000 acres; and the Dubois project, the largest in the state, on which survey and reconnaissance work were done in

1903-1904, which requires storage sites on the North Fork of the
  1. Of these 80,000 acres are reached directly—72,000 N., and 8000 S. of the Snake river; and from 50,000 to 70,000 acres more are above the level of the canals and will have water pumped to them by the 11,000-30,000 h.p. developed.