Wildly Contentious: The Battle for North Central Idaho's Roads, Rivers, and Wilderness
Erdey, Tabitha Ellen
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During the twentieth century, the rivers and mountains of North Central Idaho opened to resource extraction, outdoor recreation, and economic development. Government agencies charged with carrying out federal natural resource policy built roads, dammed rivers, and drew boundary lines in the region's forests. In August, 2013, the environmental, political, and economic implications of these actions were revealed when the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee and environmental activists protested the transport of mega-loads through the Clearwater River Valley. Three specific postwar federal interventions in the North Central Idaho landscape - the completion of US Highway 12, authorization and construction of Dworshak Dam, and reclassification of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness - elicited local, state, and national responses. "Wildly Contentious" locates these responses, favorable and otherwise, within the related contexts of postwar consumption and consumer culture, intensified resource extraction required to fuel consumer culture and the roots of twentieth century environmentalism. This dissertation will explore how these three interventions and the debates surrounding them worked in concert to transform this remote space into a place so hotly contested and rife with conflict.