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The Act That Made the Desert Bloom
Monday, October 18, 2021


Learn how the Reclamation Act of 1902 permanently changed the face of the West when historian John Lundin presents a virtual talk, “Making the Desert Bloom.”

The talk, hosted by the Hailey Public Library will start at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21. RSVP to

The Reclamation Act funded massive irrigation projects that “reclaimed” arid lands for human use.

“Virtually every green pasture, crop of wheat and field of potatoes from here to Twin Falls and beyond exists only because of the passage of the Reclamation Act of 1902,” said the library’s programs and engagement manager Kristin Fletcher, “This federal law funded far reaching irrigation projects in 20 arid states of the American West.”

One scheme, the Minidoka Project, resulted in multiple dams on the Snake River and its tributaries, including the Big and Little Wood rivers--waters which now irrigate more than a million acres of agricultural crops, she added.

John W. Lundin is a lawyer, historian and author who splits his time between Seattle and Ketchum. He has written and lectured extensively about Wood River Valley history, inspired by his great-grandparents Matthew and Isabelle Campbell McFall who moved to Bellevue, Idaho, in 1881 and built the McFall Hotel in Shoshone in 1900.

Lundin wrote Sun Valley, Ketchum and the Wood River Valley.  Previous books include Skiing Sun Valley: A History from Union Pacific to the Holdings, which recently won the Western Ski Heritage prize awarded by the Far West Ski Association. Another book, Early Skiing on Snoqualmie Pass, was named outstanding regional history book by the International Ski History Association.

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