Established February 6, 1917, from Bingham, Blaine and Jefferson Counties. It was named for the buttes that rise from the Snake River Plain and serve as landmarks for the trappers and pioneers who travel through the area. The first white men in the region were thought to be Donald MacKenzie and his North West Fur Company trappers in 1818. Peter Skene Ogden and his Hudson's Bay Company fur brigade passed through a few years later. The Big Lost and Little Lost rivers lose their waters in the lava sinks, as does Birch Creek, a natural phenomenon. Sheep and cattle were moved across the county in the nineteenth century when livestock was driven from Oregon to Wyoming and beyond. Farmers and cattlemen located on the Big Lost River in the late 1870's.
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