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Programs

Public Lands History Center marks new direction

November 8, 2010

Colorado State University's Public Lands History Center, formally the Center for Public History and Archaeology, recently hosted a reception marking its new direction and mission.

History of America's public lands

Vaughn Baker, superintendent of Rocky Mountain National Park, spoke at the recent reception for the Public Lands History Center.

“We see the Public Lands History Center as furthering knowledge of the history of America's public lands using our expertise in environmental history, historic preservation, social and cultural history and museum studies,” said Mark Fiege, director of the center and associate professor of history at CSU.

With seed money from the College of Liberal Arts, a group of CSU history and anthropology faculty members and research associates founded the Center for Public History and Archaeology in June 2007.

The center functioned under that name until June 2010, when a new title, Public Lands History Center, was chosen to better reflect the focus on cooperative engagement with the National Park Service and similar federal, state, and local entities.

Research by students, alumni

In the first three years of operation, the center has launched 16 research projects that have provided research opportunities for 17 CSU students and alumni and brought nearly $500,000 in external funding into the College of Liberal Arts.

Examples of research that has come out of the Public Lands History Center include:

  • A project documenting Utah’s Zion National Park’s historic trails that are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places;
  • A study on the impacts of hiking, mountaineering and climbing on Longs Peak; and
  • A comprehensive resource stewardship strategy for Pecos National Historical Park in New Mexico to protect the park’s ecological health while also preserving important cultural history.

Long history of working with NPS

Baker and Professor Peter Newman from the Warner College of Natural Resources, enjoy a conversation at the recent Public Lands History Center reception.

Vaughn Baker, superintendent of Rocky Mountain National Park, and Ben Bobowski, chief of Resource Stewardship at the park, addressed the importance of research partnerships between the National Park Service and CSU at last week’s reception.

CSU has a long history of working with the National Park Service through several programs in the university’s Warner College of Natural Resources. CSU has earned the nickname, “Ranger Factory,” as many of the university’s natural resources, history and anthropology graduates go on to be foresters and rangers in the federal land management agencies upon graduation.

“There is a natural opportunity for the Public Lands History Center to work with our CSU colleagues in the Warner College of Natural Resources, particularly in the Center for Protected Area Management and Training, to collaboratively address issues of environmental history and natural resources stewardship,” Fiege said.

For more information about the center, visit www.publiclands.colostate.edu.


Contact: Kimberly Sorensen
E-mail: Kimberly.Sorensen@colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-0757