U.S. Reclamation, Boise Project, Boise Valley, Irrigation Project


The "destiny of man is to possess the whole earth," agricultural specialist John A. Widtsoe declared in 1928; "and the destiny of earth is to be subject to man."' Widtsoe's comment reflected the U.S. government's imperative to conquer and manage nature to fulfill the nation's destiny. Reclamation, the conversion of wasteland, usually arid deserts, into farmland, was a central program of the conservationist movement. A progressive government saw the West as the home of a future American empire where strong, independent households would unite to reclaim the land. Believing the Secretary of the Interior's promise that agricultural prosperity could be cultivated in the soil of the Boise Valley in Idaho, thousands of prospective settlers boarded the Union Pacific Railroad and headed west.