This is a lonely place now in terms of both wildlife and people, but it wasn't always so. The various renditions of the Homesteading Act placed hopeful people in this region: one family for every 320 acres in the later years. Looking at maps of the area from the 1910's and 1920's, it was downright crowded out here by today's standards. Drought, harsh winters, isolation and the broken economy of the 1930's sent people away in vast numbers. So all those lands that had been "proved up" in the earlier years were abandoned and taken back by the government under the Bankhead-Jones Act of 1937. Thus, a large portion of the land in the area of Big Sheep Mountain is federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and leased out for grazing to private individuals.
It was a scenic place filled with trees and as the population grew, Meehan donated land so a gathering hall, tennis courts and recreation area could be constructed with volunteer labor. May I remind you that this is the middle of nowhere. The homesteaders were an industrious and adventurous lot. They had to be in order to find hope and promise in this land. Regular gatherings were held here in the 1920s. Danish Cowboy's grandfather even took part...a 20 mile journey in those days must have been quite a feat for the purpose of recreating.