Workers and the Wild

Conservation, Consumerism, and Labor in Oregon, 1910-30
Author: Lawrence M. Lipin
Exploring the ties between wilderness use and class
Paper – $30
Publication Date: March 2007
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About the Book

Focusing on Oregon in the 1910s and 1920s, Lawrence M. Lipin traces the shift in labor’s thinking about the use of natural resources. As he shows, workers began with the so-called producerist idea that resources and land, whether rural or urban, should be put to productive use rather than set aside as “elitist” nature preserves. But working class views changed as the automobile gave people access to national parks, forests, and beaches. Workers not only accepted the preservation of nature for recreation, they pressured state agencies to provide more outdoor opportunities. Fish and game commissioners responded with more intensive hatchery operations while wildlife advocates pushed for designated wilderness. In these and other ways, the labor movement’s shifting relationship to nature reveals the complicated development of wildlife policy and its own battles with consumerism.

An innovative blend of environmental and labor history, Workers and the Wild examines the battles over the proper use of nature in the early twentieth century.

About the Author

Lawrence M. Lipin is a professor of history at Pacific University and author of Eleanor Baldwin and the Woman's Point of View: New Thought Radicalism in Portland’s Progressive Era.