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Through Oregon on High: The Construction and Consumption of Nature on the Oregon Skyline Trail

Barker, Stuart (2014) Through Oregon on High: The Construction and Consumption of Nature on the Oregon Skyline Trail. Master of Research (MRes) thesis, University of Kent,. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

This thesis explores recreational interaction with the natural landscape of the United States. Through analysis of the proposed Oregon Skyline Road, that was never constructed, and the Oregon Skyline Trail that was created in its place, I consider how nature was constructed as a space, packaged as a commodity and consumed by tourists. From understanding why the infrastructure was first proposed, this research will follow the Oregon Skyline from its proposal in 1919 through to its absorption into the Pacific Crest Trail in the late 1930s. This thesis argues that the Skyline Trail was a space that was constructed and sold as an idealised version of nature for Americans to consume, based upon pre-conceptions of the spectacular and monumental in nature. Despite the construction of a scenic and recreational ‘wonderland’, this works argues that Americans rejected the form of interaction offered by the Oregon Skyline as too arduous and failing to provide the comforts of modern living. This work builds upon previous scholarly research on the natural landscape as a constructed space and how nature is sold and consumed. Research for this thesis engages with the key individuals who were involved in the creation of the Oregon Skyline and includes United States Forest Service officials, recreational planners, landscape architects and people who experienced the trail. This thesis engages with a range of primary sources, correspondence, journals, newspapers, contemporary outdoors and hiking literature, and uses these to deconstruct the Skyline Trail and demonstrate that the landscape evolves according to shifting and sometimes contradictory human demands. Finally, this thesis argues that the constructed and demanding wilderness landscapes of the Skyline Trail alienated its target audience, and only decades later did a broader community desire such a form of nature interaction.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Research (MRes))
Thesis advisor: Wills, John
Uncontrolled keywords: American Studies
Subjects: E History America > E11 America (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
Divisions: Faculties > University wide - Teaching/Research Groups > Centre for American Studies
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2015 01:00 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 14:19 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/47606 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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