Library News »01/30/2013

Selway Bitterroot Wilderness History Project research to be presented at WSU

Dennis Baird, University of Idaho professor emeritus, and Debbie Lee, Washington State University English professor, will present, “The Storied Wilderness: How to Tell the Human History of a Wild Place,” historical documents, photos and oral histories from the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness History Project at a special event at WSU on Friday, Feb. 1, at noon in the Bundy Reading Room in Avery Hall. The University of Idaho Library’s Digital Initiatives Department hosts the Selway-Bitterroot project archives through their website at

Baird and Lee were awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Research Grant in 2010 to create an archive chronicling the human history of one of the wildest places in the lower 48 states, the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana. As their grant comes to an end, Lee and Baird will reveal the history of the 1.3 million acres of roadless landscape, among the first to be granted wilderness designation with the passing of the 1964 Wilderness. Originally home to the Nimiipuu and Salish Indians, it had been fiercely protected by preservationists throughout the centuries.

For this presentation, Baird will show a few of the treasures of the new archive (such as Gifford Pinchot's diary, in which he talks to his dead wife in the wilderness) and Lee will read a short excerpt from the book she is currently writing about the region.

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