Land, History & Context

The Partnership acknowledges that the singular relationship between people, culture, and the harvest of resources on the property and across the surrounding landscape predate Euro-American settlement when Nez Perce people inhabited the land prior to the Nez Perce War of 1877.

Nez Perce people, or Nimi’ipuu, were the first stewards of the Wallowa Valley. Practicing their seasonal round, they would travel across terrain and elevation in pursuit of an abundance of resources dependent on the land. They managed these resources through a variety of traditions and techniques including timed harvests, cultivation through consistent harvesting, raising livestock, and prescribed fire.

The present-day order in which resources are harvested and consumed, and the timing and care with which they are cultivated and prepared correlate with the order in which Nez Perce people believe plants and animals offered themselves in preparation for the arrival of people to the land.

Natural resources on the property and surrounding landscape are central to the lifeways, or Nimiipuu’neewit, of Nez Perce people, including diet, language, beliefs, ceremony and traditions. In the years leading up to and after the Nez Perce War of 1877, Euro-American settlement increased. Settlers developed traditions, economics and culture derived from the abundance of natural resources here as well as a management system of private land ownership.

Since that time, economy and culture have been shaped predominately by tillage farming, ranching and timber management by a combination of private and public landowners. Because of this history, the Nez Perce Tribe Cultural Resources Department played an integral part in the origin of this multi-use management plan, working with Wallowa County and partners. 

This Management Plan continues the long tradition of stewarding Wallowa County’s natural resources in a manner that provides multiple benefits to the land and the community. Developed with the assistance of focus groups, local natural resource and recreation professionals, and feedback from the public during the original draft’s public comment period in 2021, the plan will guide the management and use of the East Moraine Community Forest. Over time, science, use and management may change and the plan will be updated as necessary.