NEH banner [Return to Query]

Products for grant RZ-51159-10

Historico-Cultural Interpretation and Preservation of the Iconic Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana
Debbie Lee, Washington State University

Grant details:

Listening to the Land: The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness as Oral History (Article)
Title: Listening to the Land: The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness as Oral History
Author: Debbie Lee
Abstract: A Wilderness, as defined by the 1964 Congressional Act is, "in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, [wilderness] is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." Given this definition, human history is often neglected in wilderness literature. This is especially true of places like the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, the third largest of such areas in the continental U.S. as well as one of the most remote. Yet, however, "untrammeled" this landscape appears to be, in fact it has a complex human history. Representing this history is best done through the medium of oral narrative since orality holds the ability to preserve a sense of time and place, and sound is the fullest way to transform a real space into an imaginary one.
Year: 2010
Primary URL:
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Oral History Review (2010) 37 (2): 235-248.
Publisher: Oxford University Press

Wilderness Voices: the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness History Project (Web Resource)
Title: Wilderness Voices: the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness History Project
Author: Debbie J. Lee
Abstract: Located in the Northern Rocky Mountains at the center of the largest wilderness complex in the lower 48, the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is iconic in the wilderness preservation system. Although human beings have been steadily interacting with the land that now comprises the Selway-Bitterroot since prehistory, the human impact on the area is negligible compared to other wild lands in the U.S. Why? What kinds of people chose this area as their home? What kinds of decisions did they make about living on the land? What kinds of laws did they establish and why? What “accidents” of history made human impact in the Selway-Bitterroot so low? How did the rigors of the land itself aid in the preservation process? Answering such questions is vital to an understanding not only of the Selway-Bitterroot, but also of wilderness areas more broadly, at a time when U.S. citizens throughout the country struggle with the question of how best to interact with and manage wild lands, which arguably, are among our most important national resources. The project uses podcasts of oral history interviews, historical documents, and photographs, to help answer these questions.
Year: 2011
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Project website

The Land Speaks: New Voices at the Intersection of Oral and Environmental History (Book)
Title: The Land Speaks: New Voices at the Intersection of Oral and Environmental History
Editor: Debbie J. Lee
Editor: Kathryn Newfont
Abstract: In the Oxford Oral History Series Captures the voice of the land through oral history, offering a new interpretation of environmental history Presents oral history as a tool for environmental problem-solving. Engages pressing current issues such as climate change and water pollution Features the perspectives and stories of a diverse array of narrators Tells stories set in public lands such as Yosemite National Park and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness
Year: 2017
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: WorldCat listing
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: Publisher's listing
Access Model: Book
Publisher: New York City: Oxford University Press
Type: Edited Volume
ISBN: 9780190664527
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes