William "Bill" Brown
Born in Seattle in 1930, Bill Brown was a long-time employee of the National Park Service, working in park planning, publication writing and editing, park management, and as regional historian. He came to Alaska in 1975 and was a member of the Park Service's Alaska Task Force that conducted research and worked with local people around Alaska to better understand the areas that were to become new national parks. He played an important role in planning for Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, worked in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, and completed key historic resource studies for Gates of the Arctic and Denali National Parks. In the 1980s, he was Park Historian for Gates of the Arctic National Park and produced the book The History of the Central Brooks Range: Gaunt Beauty, Tenuous Life, which is a historical narrative of human occupation of the area and a survey of historic sites. This richly detailed history of the region goes a long way toward demonstrating just how long and varied human occupation and use of the Brooks Range and surrounding areas have been. The book makes extensive use of primary sources, including the travel diaries of explorers, prospectors, trappers, and missionaries. It strongly relies upon first-person accounts and oral history accounts from Native elders. Bill Brown retired from the Park Service in the early 1990s and lived in Gustavus, Alaska. He passed away on May 1, 2016.
Interviews with Bill appear in the Gates of the Arctic National Park Project Jukebox and the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve Project Jukebox (Oral History H91-22-01/02), and he was the interviewer for many of the interviews in the Denali Mountaineering Project Jukebox.