Baker County, Oregon is a county located in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Oregon. It is part of the Blue Mountain region, and is bordered by Grant County to the north, Union County to the east, Malheur County to the south, and Wallowa and Union Counties to the west. The county seat is Baker City. See list of counties in Oregon.
The area that makes up Baker County was first inhabited by Native American tribes such as the Shoshone, Bannock, Nez Perce, Umatilla, Walla Walla and Cayuse. In 1860 gold was discovered in nearby Powder River and this spurred a gold rush in the area which quickly led to an influx of settlers. The county was officially formed in 1862 from parts of Wasco and Umatilla counties. It was named after Edward D. Baker who was a US Senator from Oregon at the time of his death during the Civil War.
Baker County covers an area of 5,078 square miles (13,154 sq km). The highest point in Baker County is Elkhorn Peak which has an elevation of 8,940 feet (2,726 m). There are several rivers running through Baker County including Powder River which flows south-east through it to join with Snake River near Huntington; Burnt River which flows eastward into Snake River near Durkee; and Grande Ronde River which runs westward into Washington State where it meets with Columbia River near Pasco.
The climate in Baker County is generally dry with hot summers and cold winters due to its location in a semi-arid region at relatively high elevation (averaging 4500 feet above sea level). Average annual precipitation ranges from 12 inches (30 cm) around Sumpter Valley to 16 inches (40 cm) around Haines Valley with average snowfall ranging from 20 inches (50 cm) around Sumpter Valley to 25 inches (63 cm) around Haines Valley depending on elevation.
The population of Baker County as of 2018 was estimated at 16,931 people making it one of Oregon’s least populated counties but also one of its most diverse with over 12% being Hispanic or Latino descent while over 25% were Native American or Alaskan Native descent according to Census data from 2010-2014. The largest city in Baker County is its county seat – Baker City – which has a population estimated at 10 thousand people as per 2018 estimates while other cities such as Halfway have populations under 1 thousand people according to estimates for 2018..
Agriculture plays an important role in economy for many parts of rural Eastern Oregon including much of Baker County where some crops grown include wheat hay barley oats alfalfa potatoes onions hops apples cherries pears plums peaches raspberries grapes melons squash pumpkins beans beets corn carrots turnips cabbage broccoli cauliflower asparagus kale spinach lettuce celery mustard greens cucumbers radishes cantaloupe honeydew eggplant brussels sprouts collard greens mustard greens kohlrabi etc.. Livestock farming is also popular here especially cattle sheep horses pigs goats llamas alpacas chickens ducks geese turkeys etc.. Mining activities are also found here especially gold mining but also other minerals such as copper lead zinc antimony silver tungsten nickel manganese molybdenum uranium etc..
Logging has long been important industry here too but this has declined somewhat over past decades due primarily environmental regulations although still significant especially for small operators who work on private landholdings or on federal forest lands under special permits given out by Bureau Of Land Management or Forest Service headquarters located nearby in La Grande OR..
Tourism also plays major role here due beauty natural scenery like Elkhorn Mountains Eagle Cap Wilderness Strawberry Mountain Wilderness Hells Canyon National Recreation Area etc plus many historical sites like old gold mines stage coach stops ghost towns churches ferries wagon roads bridges trails cemeteries museums old buildings hotels restaurants saloons railroads schools trading posts post offices stores banks etc all scattered throughout region making great places visit explore experience outdoor activities like hiking camping fishing hunting horseback riding ATVing bird watching photography sightseeing skiing snowmobiling rafting kayaking rock climbing boating wildlife watching golfing swimming biking canoeing etc plus many events festivals fairs rodeos parades car shows concerts art shows farmers markets quilt shows holiday celebrations etc adding even more reasons visit explore enjoy beauty all Eastern Oregon has offer no matter what season year might be.
History of Baker County, Oregon
Baker County, Oregon is located in the northeast corner of the state and is part of the Blue Mountains region. The county was established in 1862 and is named after Edward Dickinson Baker, a U.S. Senator from Oregon who was killed during the Civil War in 1861.
The first settlers to arrive in Baker County were miners who were drawn to the area for its gold deposits. The discovery of gold in 1860 led to a rush of miners and prospectors looking to stake their claim on this valuable resource. As more people began settling in the area, towns like Auburn, Haines and Baker City began to take shape. By 1868, Baker City had become an important hub for commerce and transportation within the region.
The gold rush came to an end by 1870 as most of the ore had been exhausted, but other industries soon took its place. Cattle ranching became a major industry as well as timber harvesting and farming. The railroads arrived in 1884 which further opened up trade and travel opportunities within Baker County and beyond.
During this time period there was also an influx of immigrants moving into Baker County from all over Europe seeking new economic opportunities or escaping religious persecution back home. This included many Jewish families fleeing Germany during World War II who settled around Haines and other parts of Baker County.
The 20th century saw continued growth in population as well as economic development throughout the county with industries such as timber harvesting, farming, mining, ranching, manufacturing and tourism all contributing to its success over time. Despite some economic downturns throughout recent decades due to decreased demand for natural resources such as timber, agriculture remains strong along with tourism which continues to draw visitors from all over the world every year to explore its historic towns and breathtaking landscapes including Hells Canyon National Recreation Area which straddles both Oregon and Idaho borders along with many other protected areas throughout the region.
Today, Baker County is known for its rich history dating back nearly 150 years when it was first established during Oregon’s Territorial period while still offering modern amenities that make it a great place to live or visit whether you are looking for outdoor recreational activities or simply taking some time out from your busy life just soak up some small-town charm that can be found here at every turn.