In 1965, with Yellowtail Dam nearing completion, the Bureau of Reclamation thought that a full capacity Bighorn Lake would flood the town of Kane. They condemned the land and many families were forced to move, taking with them hard feelings toward the government and leaving behind few physical reminders of the town. One of those reminders is the Kane/Ionia Cemetery, now part of the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.
While some families continued to visit the cemetery, for the most part it had been forgotten until it was maliciously vandalized in November of 2009. This incident increased awareness and interest in the local community. Since then Bighorn Canyon staff have been working to reconnect Kane citizens with Bighorn Canyon and help them to highlight their history. The Kane Day Celebration, held on June 9th, marked the beginning of a partnership between the Lovell Kane Area Museum, the community, and NPS to preserve the Kane Cemetery and the stories of Kane.
Kane Day was a successful celebration that encouraged the Kane community to work beside park staff to help clean up the Kane Cemetery and offered the community the opportunity to review new interpretive signs that will be placed at the site as part of the restitution from the 2009 vandalism. The day also included a presentation by local Kane historian, Karen Spragg, and the opening of a temporary Kane exhibit in the Bighorn Canyon Visitor Center.
Bighorn Canyon hopes to continue to provide opportunities for community and staff to share information about the local park history through similar partnership programs in the future.