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Forum on Public Lands in Utah and the United States West

By Eleanor Mahoney August 4, 2020

This forum brought together eight scholars who recently contributed to a special issue of the Utah Historical Quarterly. Each presenter offered brief (5 -7 minute) comments on the topics outlined below, followed by a general discussion on public lands history.

The conversation ranged from the early creation of National Parks and National Forests to contemporary conflicts over the role of government in the rural West. Speakers considered how the meaning, use, and management of public lands has changed over time and jointly reflected on what the future might hold.

Speakers (in order of presentation):

Jedidiah S. Rogers, editor Utah Historical Quarterly, introduction and overview of special issue

Leisl Carr Childers, Assistant Professor of History at Colorado State University, “Understanding Cliven Bundy: Using Narrative, Geographic, and Visual Empathy in Public Lands History”

James R. Skillen, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Calvin University, “Public Lands Rebellion” 

Elizabeth Hora, Public Archaeologist for the Utah Division of State History, “Utah Lake Rock Imagery: An Intersection of Public Lands, Recreational Shooting, and Cultural Resources”

Eleanor Mahoney, NPS Mellon Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow, “From Skepticism to Support: National Heritage Areas in the West”

Thomas G. Alexander, Professor Emeritus of Western American History at Brigham Young University, “After a Century: National Forest Management in the Intermountain Region in the 21st Century”

Benjamin Kiser, Teacher of Early American History at Wayne Carle Middle School, “Bucking the White Elephant: Utah’s Fight for Federal Management of the Public Domain, 1923 – 1934”

Laura Alice Watt, Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Planning at Sonoma State University, “The Return of Uncertainty: Public Lands in an Unpredictable World”

Forum recorded on 6/15/2020
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