The Okanogan County Heritage publication invariably contains interesting stories of that county’s past. The current issue, for instance, carries a story of why Jackass Butte, east of Okanogan, was given that name.
It was written by the late Judge William Brown in the Okanogan Independent in 1952. He writes that a party of gold-seekers from Nevada brought a large number of burros in 1897 or 1898, planning to use them to go to the Yukon or Alaska. When they found out how far it was, they abandoned the plan, traded them off to Chief Smitkin who had a ranch near St. Mary’s Mission.
They roamed free for many years, and when a lookout was set up by the Forest Service in the 1930s, it was called Jackass Butte Lookout.
Brown says the burros were tame and gentle, and people in town would keep some of them.
The Heritage issue carries a number of burro photos by Frank Matsura, taken early in the last century.