Cultural Resources and Human History
Humans inhabited these hills long before William S. Bodey came to the area in 1859 in search of gold. He found it, and the discovery led to the establishment of a boomtown.
While Bodie and the nearby town of Aurora, in Nevada, were historically mined and produced abundant gold and silver, the bulk of the Bodie Hills remain largely undisturbed and pristine, even though they have been subject to extensive mineral exploration. Evidence of past mining history remains throughout the Bodie Hills to be discovered by modern day explorers. The Bodie Historic District, which includes Bodie State Historic Park is recognized as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior. The National Park Service has also evaluated Bodie and its surroundings as a potential National Historic Landscape. Bodie State Historic Park is California’s official ghost town and one of the state’s most popular parks.
The Bodie Hills were also extensively used by Native American tribes and evidence of their past occupation is abundant. The range contains one of the highest densities if not the highest density of archaeological sites in the Great Basin. The Bodie Hills obsidian source was a major trading area for obsidian, and of special value to tribes located as far west as the Central Valley, California. The 3,000 acre Dry Lakes Plateau in the eastern Bodie Hills (part of the Bodie WSA) has been listed by the National Park Service as a National Register District for its abundance of important cultural sites.