United States Forest Service Region 5 Oral History Project

 
 
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Between the years 2004 - 2009 the United States Forest Service Region 5 retirees’ oral history committee, with financial and logistical support from the Regional Forester, conducted interviews with Forest Service retirees. The resulting oral histories thematically addressed key themes—Forest Careers, Community, Timber Management, Changing Workforce, Fire Control, and Public Relations—that have helped shape the region’s and nation’s Forest Service in the latter half of the twentieth-century. Completion of the project was overseen by the oral history committee who in turn utilized members of the region’s past workforce as interviewers to conduct and record over 150 oral interviews. Completed interviews were then professionally transcribed and lightly edited. As a means to provide accessibility to the interviews the committee entered into a collaborative agreement with the University of California at Berkeley’s Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) to publish two volumes of edited oral history from the project—The Lure of the Forest: Oral Histories from the National Forests In California (2005) and The Unmarked Trail: Managing National Forests in a Turbulent Era (2009). Under the agreement ROHO Associate Director Victor W. Geraci, PhD selected interview segments, lightly edited them, and provided advice on the historical narrative to help contextualize the interview clips based upon the selected themes. The resulting manuscript narratives reflect the individual and collective memory of how the Service navigated dramatic policy, personnel, scientific, legal, legislative and budgetary changes to arrive at a modern version of Gifford Pinchot’s maxim of “wise use.”  The agreement also provided for the web-page mounting of many of the complete interviewee transcripts.

 


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