Protecting Cultural Resources
Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility (NWSTF) Boardman is a military training area that provides distinctive conditions and an ideal setting for U.S. service men and women to conduct essential training activities for preparation before deployment. This area also contains various archaeological and Native American cultural resources. The U.S. Navy and Oregon National Guard must protect these sensitive resources while conducting military training activities.
Cultural Resource Management Plans and Surveys
The Navy has prepared various cultural resource management plans to protect and manage the cultural resources at NWSTF Boardman, including:
  • Historic and Archaeological Resources Protection Plan
  • Archaeological Resources Assessment and Protection Plan for Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
Cultural Resource Investigations

Prior to 2011, eight cultural resource investigations have been conducted within the current boundaries of NWSTF Boardman, including six archaeological surveys, one architectural survey and one preliminary National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) evaluation. Approximately 3,560 acres of NWSTF Boardman have been surveyed for archaeological sites. Five prehistoric archaeological sites and 12 historic archaeological sites and/or features have been recorded on NWSTF Boardman. Additionally, 14 artifacts that represent evidence of Native American seasonal hunting or travel camps, inadvertent loss during travel or hunting/gathering activities, and food- and indulgence-related objects have been recorded.

An additional 1,700 acres were surveyed in March and May of 2011. The pedestrian and subsurface study was conducted in two phases, a pedestrian survey and a subsurface survey. The pedestrian survey was conducted between March 23 and 29, 2011, to document the presence or absence of cultural resources visible at the ground surface within the project area and to provide preliminary assessments of the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) eligibility for each identified resource. The subsurface phase of the survey was conducted between May 11 and 14, 2011, and examined select areas within the larger survey area, specifically the locations of the six cultural resources identified during the pedestrian phase of the survey and four areas deemed to have potential to contain subsurface archaeological deposits. As a result of the fieldwork, three historic-era archaeological sites and four historic-era isolates (discrete locales that contain fewer than ten cultural items) were identified and recorded. The resources contain sparse cultural material and were determined to most likely reflect the dominant economic activity and use of open rangelands in Morrow County in the later nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries, sheep husbandry.

National Register Listings
Fifteen buildings and structures have been surveyed and determinations made for NRHP eligibility by the Navy and concurred by the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office. No buildings or structures at NWSTF Boardman are currently listed, or have been determined eligible for listing, in the National Register. Six archaeological sites are considered eligible for listing in the National Register, including the Well Spring Segment of the Oregon Trail (listed in 1978), the Lower Well Springs Diversion of the Boardman Section of the Oregon Trail and two prehistoric archaeological sites.
Archaeological Resource Management Guidelines
The Navy has established guidelines for ongoing management of archaeological resources at NWSTF Boardman, including:
  • Maintaining confidentiality regarding the location of the known archaeological resources and providing information only to appropriate personnel.
  • Ensuring that construction, maintenance and training activities avoid any ground-disturbing activities, to the maximum extent practicable, on or near the known archaeological sites and archaeologically-sensitive areas.
  • Conducting additional archaeological investigations to evaluate adverse effects on the resource during training activities that cannot be relocated.
  • Consulting with federally-recognized tribes with ancestral ties prior to ground-disturbing activities or near archaeologically-sensitive areas.
  • Training personnel working on site to recognize potential archaeological sites.
  • Requiring all personnel working on site to report the discovery of any archaeological resources to the appropriate staff.
  • Patrolling known archaeological sites periodically to ensure that the sites have not been illegally disturbed.
  • Adhering to established procedures for consulting with federally-recognized tribes with ancestral ties.