Some would argue the headline is too definitive. After all, had the Donner Party passed through Idaho, maybe they would’ve been eaten by Snake River piranhas.
The post at the top of the page is from the Sacramento History Museum. It explains that if the party had taken the traditional route west, they may have beaten the first heavy snow that stranded them in the mountains. Instead of passing through Fort Hall, the pioneers headed south and around the Great Salt Lake. It added weeks to the trip. You probably can imagine there was a guy in the lead wagon. He saw an opportunity for what could be a shortcut, and then he didn’t stop and ask for directions!
By the way, have you seen the Donner Pass Facebook meme? Not sure if it’s photoshopped, but an exit sign displays a knife and fork, a universal symbol that you can get a meal in town.
Today, there’s a reverse migration from California. Cannibalism isn’t the threat. Getting eaten alive by taxes and regulations is the fear. As I wrote a few days ago, Idahoans don’t have an issue with the tax refugees, as long as they don’t want to alter the culture. Most don’t, however. Driving up the price is a bargain for you, but not for the locals. This is how it starts. The cost of real estate and pricing out the natives disrupts the culture. You can sell a house for millions in the San Francisco area, then come here and pay 1,000,000 dollars for a house priced at $250,000 ten years ago. The locals get gobbled up.