Galbreath Oral History Project


Why did I want a ranch? ...I’m a country man at heart. I had a love of animals, a great love of trees, plus good parents who also liked the out-of-doors...I don’t know exactly how to word it, but I think heaven is operating a ranch. - Fred B. Galbreath

Fred Galbreath youngermeadow, woodland, vistaFred Galbreath older

Fred Galbreath managed Galbreath Preserve lands as a working ranch from 1944 to 2000. He applied a number of innovative techniques to reduce erosion and enhance the health of forests on the property. Understanding the practices Fred employed provides context and understanding of the patterns that are seen on the landscape today. The purpose of this project is to gather and summarize information about Fred’s land management philosophy and the activities he undertook while managing the ranch for 56 years.

Project Lead(s): Steve Estes; Claudia Luke

Dates: Spring 2011 to Fall 2012

Scholarship: Service-learning; student assistantships

Course(s): History 500: The Art & Craft of History  

Funding: SSU Preserves; Instructionally Related Student (IRA) program

Faculty:  Steve Estes, History Department

Students: Matthew Thompson, Garrett Morrow , Thomas Eddy, Chris O’Sullivan, Karl Byrn, Colin Close

Partners: SSU Preserves; History 500; Relatives and Friends of Fred Galbreath

During Spring semester 2011, graduate students in History 500 conducted interviews with 4 members of Fred Galbreath’s family and 3 long-time friends. Each interviewee was asked a standard suite of 21 questions. Audio and sometimes video recordings were made of each interview and later transcribed by students. After the intial set of interviews with History 500 students, one of the students, Matt Thompson, was hired during the summer of 2011 to conduct follow up interviews with some participants and to transcribe a 1995 video of Fred Galbreath at Humboldt State University discussing management of the ranch. Follow up interviews included documenting historic sites on a maps and a field visit with interviewee Charlie Hiatt. All pertinent audio and video data were transcribed. A brief summary of statements regading land management issues were summarized.Interviewees signed agreement of informed consent that allows the resulting materials to be available in SSU's Shultz Library and through the Galbreath Wildlands Preserve.:

Maps of Historic Sites - Two maps of Historic Sites and Natural Features mentioned as part of oral history narratives: Galbreath Preserve Historic Sites and Natural Features and Suffroni Canyon Historic Sites and Nature Features. Data access is restricted but can be made available on request.

Land Management Quote Summary - The Land Management Quote Summary contains quotes from the oral history project organized into the following subjects: fire, agriculture, dams on creeks, erosion, logging, grazing, hunting and fishing.

Interview Data - Transcripts, audio and video from interviews and a video of Fred Galbreath are available in Galbreath Land Use & Cultural Data. Interviewees include Nancy Johnson, Charlie Hiatt, Duane Ornbaun, Nina Hyatt, Bob Johnson, Nancy Levensaler, John and Brenda Blom. Data access is restricted for all transcripts except for Fred Galbreath.