Book ID: CBB896056361

The Size of the Risk: Histories of Multiple Use in the Great Basin (2015)


Childers, Leisl Carr (Author)

University of Oklahoma Press

Publication Date: 2015
Physical Details: 328
Language: English

The Great Basin, a stark and beautiful desert filled with sagebrush deserts and mountain ranges, is the epicenter for public lands conflicts. Arising out of the multiple, often incompatible uses created throughout the twentieth century, these struggles reveal the tension inherent within the multiple use concept, a management philosophy that promises equitable access to the region’s resources and economic gain to those who live there. Multiple use was originally conceived as a way to legitimize the historical use of public lands for grazing without precluding future uses, such as outdoor recreation, weapons development, and wildlife management. It was applied to the Great Basin to bring the region, once seen as worthless, into the national economic fold. Land managers, ranchers, mining interests, wilderness and wildlife advocates, outdoor recreationists, and even the military adopted this ideology to accommodate, promote, and sanction a multitude of activities on public lands, particularly those overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. Some of these uses are locally driven and others are nationally mandated, but all have exacted a cost from the region’s human and natural environment. In The Size of the Risk, Leisl Carr Childers shows how different constituencies worked to fill the presumed “empty space” of the Great Basin with a variety of land-use regimes that overlapped, conflicted, and ultimately harmed the environment and the people who depended on the region for their livelihoods. She looks at the conflicts that arose from the intersection of an ever-increasing number of activities, such as nuclear testing and wild horse preservation, and how Great Basin residents have navigated these conflicts. Carr Childers’s study of multiple use in the Great Basin highlights the complex interplay between the state, society, and the environment, allowing us to better understand the ongoing reality of living in the American West.

Reviewed By

Review David Rich Lewis (April 2017) Review of "The Size of the Risk: Histories of Multiple Use in the Great Basin". Environmental History (pp. 369-370). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Paul J. White
Wills, John E.
Rogers, Jedediah Smart
Andrés, Benny J.
Smith, Jessica M.
Tidwell, Abraham S.D.
Social Studies of Science
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Pacific Historical Review
Historical Records of Australian Science
Science as Culture
Texas A&M University Press
The University of Utah Press
University of Arizona Press
Maturango Press
University of Chicago Press
The MIT Press
Land use
Mines and mining
Environmental history
Natural resource management
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
21st century
20th century, late
20th century, early
Western states (U.S.)
United States
Alaska (U.S.)
Death Valley, CA
American Magnesium Corporation
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (Australia)

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