Hells Canyon Mule Days history

<I>Photography Angelika Garoutte/Muletopia Productions</I><BR>Anxious participants of all ages are waiting for their turn to show their best in front of the crowded grandstands.

In the Spring of 1981, local ranchers and packers met with representatives of the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce and USDA Forest Service to explore the idea of putting together a new county event.

As a result, the mule - tough, intelligent, individualistic, often maligned, but the mainstay of the many packers and outfitters working in Wallowa County - was elevated to center stage for the first annual Hells Canyon Mule Days celebration on September 19 - 20, 1981.

Hells Canyon was an appropriate title because that area owes most of its early settlement and development to the mule which predominantly served as a major means of transportation to gain access to this rugged region of the county.

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