A Wilderness, a Mine, a National Park and the Test that Changed the West: Aspinall visiting lecturer

The Kennecott Copper Corporation claimed the low-grade copper ore buried in a ridge in Washington state’s North Cascades in the 1950s. Then, in 1964, the ridge became part of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, one of the first areas protected by the Wilderness Act.

The legal battle and activism from federal agencies, politicians and the public that ensued when Kennecott announced its plan to start an open pit mine resulted in a story that captures a moment in time when Americans pushed the boundaries of wilderness to see how far they might stretch.

The community is invited to learn more about that story from the 2017 Aspinall Visiting Lecturer Adam Sowards, PhD, at a public presentation at Colorado Mesa University on Wednesday, April 5, at 7pm in the Meyer Ballroom on the second floor of the University Center.

Sowards will present, An Open Pit Visible from the Moon: A Wilderness, a Mine, a National Park, and the Test that Changed the West. An environmental historian who focuses on North America, especially the West, Sowards teaches at the University of Idaho. As the 2017 Aspinall Guest Lecturer at CMU, he is teaching a course entitled, “Sagebrush rebellions and American public lands.”

A prize-winning historian, he has primarily focused on the American conservation movement and forest history. Sowards is interested in how environment and culture affect scientific inquiry and environmental management. He is especially interested in the history of public lands. His earned his PhD and master’s, both in history, at Arizona State University. His bachelor’s is from the University of Puget Sound.

The public lecture is free and open to all. It is sponsored by the Wayne N. and Julia E. Aspinall Foundation.

The foundation has also selected its newest scholarship recipients. The CMU students selected are:

  • Crystina Meador, political science major, Westminster, CO, Aspinall Scholar - $8,000
  • Kaitlin Senko, history major, Grand Junction, Traylor Scholar - $6,000
  • Wyatt Starc, political science major, Conifer, CO - $4,000
  • Kaitlin (Kricket) Adleman, history, secondary education major, Grand Junction - $2,000
  • Tabor Anderson, criminal justice major, Cedaredge, CO - $2,000
  • Natalie West, criminal justice major, Plano, TX - $2,000
  • Carson Pipher, history, secondary education major, Paonia, CO - $2,000
  • Elizabeth Watts, political science major, Gypsum, CO - $2,000
  • David Anderson, history, secondary education major, Longmont, CO - $1,000
  • Jessica Trujillo, social work major, Arvada, CO - $1,000
  • Katie Kreiger, social work major, Brighton, CO - $1,000

The Wayne N. and Julia E. Aspinall Foundation, Inc. was formed in 1968.  Its purpose is to honor the late Congressman by supporting education and encouraging the admirable tradition of public service to which he dedicated his life.  In memory of Wayne Aspinall, the foundation provides educational support for students planning careers in public service.  The foundation also sponsors prominent scholars to teach classes at Colorado Mesa University and other lectures for the general public.

Media Contact

David Ludlam, Director of Public Relations

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