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Learning from the past to preserve the future of public lands

Welcome to the Public Lands History Center!

Established in 2007, the award-winning Public Lands History Center (PLHC) integrates research, education, and outreach in the best tradition of a land-grant university. Projects with National Parks and other public land management agencies enlist faculty, graduate students, and other researchers to conduct historical research that directly informs current resource management challenges. Our American West Program seeks to expose audiences to significant research, dynamic speakers, narratives of change and contestation, and the excitement of interdisciplinary dialogue on human-environment issues in the West.  The PLHC gets students out of the classroom and into the field to get the experience and connections they need for fulfilling careers after graduation.

PPL 2021 Group Photo. From left back row to right: Paige Rooney, Jacie Rex, Amber Scott, Mike Childers (CSU History Faculty), Taylor Lapoint, Shaun Rose, Kristy Ornelas, Ariel Schnee (Public Lands History Center Program Manager).
PPL 2021 Group Photo. From left back row to right: Paige Rooney, Jacie Rex, Amber Scott, Mike Childers (CSU History Faculty), Taylor Lapoint, Shaun Rose, Kristy Ornelas, Ariel Schnee (Public Lands History Center Program Manager).
PPL 2021 participant conduct an oral interview with a seasonal ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park and Ruth Alexander, professor emeritus.
PPL 2021 participant conduct an oral interview with a seasonal ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park and Ruth Alexander, professor emeritus.
PPL 2021 participants visit an accessible backcountry campsite.
PPL 2021 participants visit an accessible backcountry campsite.

Recent News

Fall 2021 American West Program with Yufna Soldier Wolf

October 19, 2021

The American West Program Returns in 2021 On October 14th, the Public Lands History Center brought the American West Program back from a year-long hiatus. Featuring Northern Arapaho speaker Yufna Soldier Wolf, the hybrid event hosted attendees in person and online. Soldier Wolf’s daughter, Blue Soldier Wolf, opened the event by reading the CSU land […]

PLHC Featured in National Geographic

November 16, 2020

The PLHC’s community storytelling project recently gained attention in one of the most widely-recognized nature publications anywhere: National Geographic. Freelance photojournalist, Andria Hautamaki, authored the article. The Colorado-based reporter discovered the PLHC’s Public Landemic project online. The project and the PLHC sparked her curiosity. In developing the article, the reporter noticed that the Public Landemic […]

PLHC launches ‘Public Landemic’ project

April 17, 2020

COVID-19 inspires PLHC’s ‘Public Landemic’ Project What is a Public Landemic? Efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 have radically changed recreation and leisure landscape in Colorado. The pandemic caused ski resorts to close at the height of height of spring ski season. Climbing gyms and fitness centers closed their doors. Closures of businesses including […]

Blog

Racial Segregation on the American South’s Public Lands

September 14, 2021

Who Gets a Getaway? The year was 1940. As World War II raged in Europe, and Americans seeking leisure and adventure turned to exploring their National and State Parks rather than vacationing abroad.[1] In the east, Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountain National Parks were open. Instead of trekking to the National Parks of the west, […]

LGBTQ+ History and Monuments: Historical Perspectives on the Pulse Nightclub and the Matthew Shepard Murder

September 14, 2021

In light of the recent gun violence that took place at STEM High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado on May 8, 2019, the PLHC would like to offer anyone affected by those events a content warning on the blog post below, which details instances of gun violence against youth and young adults, specifically LGBTQ+ individuals. […]

Long Exposures: Repeat Photography and Parks and Portals to Learning 2018

September 14, 2021

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