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California History

The System of the River: Francis Newlands and the Improbable Quest to Irrigate the West

A new study detailing the life and policy contributions of Francis G. Newlands, one of the most important historical figures in the development of water use in the western United States. This exploration of Newlands' life and legacy by historian William Lilley III examines Newlands' contributions to early 19th century federal law, which initiated the vast irrigation system that waters the western United States to this day. 

“Saving Lighthouse Point” – Pilot Podcast

Outside of the city’s famed Boardwalk, few places are as iconic in the coastal city of Santa Cruz as Lighthouse Point. Yet in 1970, the City Council approved a major construction project that sought to develop every square foot of Lighthouse Point and adjacent Lighthouse Field, turning one of the city’s last open parcels of coastal land into a bustling tourist and business hub. Bolstered by the creation of the Coastal Commission, the citizens of Santa Cruz organized to save Lighthouse Point, a battle that would come to stand as a watershed moment in the city’s history.

Walking the Farm: 18 Themed Walks Exploring the Stanford Campus

18 Themed Walks Exploring the Stanford Campus, 20 Local Hikes from the Foothills to the Bay
Written by Tom DeMund, Walking the Farm is rooted in the Bill Lane Center for the American West’s annual tradition of hiking the Stanford campus and its environs to trace the links between the university, its founders Leland and Jane Stanford, and the dynamic region it helped shape. From the transcontinental railroad to postwar atomic research, and onward to the rise of Silicon Valley, walk in the footsteps of generations past.

The Life and Legacy of Jack London: Complete Video

Scholars talked about the life and legacy of novelist, journalist, photographer, and social activist Jack London. They showed a selection of London’s photojournalism and spoke how the author of The Call of the Wild influenced generations of Western novelists and writers. 

Read more about the Jack London symposium: A Century After His Death, Scholars Examine Jack London’s Enduring Legacy

The Utility of Surfers’ Wave Knowledge for Coastal Management

This study investigates the local knowledge of surfers through two surveys of more than one thousand California surfers and promulgates, based on survey data, a formal definition of surfers’ local knowledge as "wave knowledge." In so doing, this study makes the case that wave knowledge can be used to inform coastal management decision-making in those situations where wave resources, and thus the growing stakeholder group of surfers, could possibly be affected.


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