Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Project Jukebox Survey

Help us redesign the Project Jukebox website by taking a very short survey!

Bill Brosge, Part 2

This is a continuation of the interview with Bill Brosge on September 23, 2004 with Karen Brewster in Woodside, California. This is part two of tape number Oral History 2002-27-21. In this part of the interview, Bill talks about exploring the North Fork of the Koyukuk River in 1958, planning and preparing for long field expeditions, the joys and hardships of geological fieldwork, changes in fieldwork and mapping, his thoughts about the establishment of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and his contributions to geologic understanding of the Brooks Range.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2002-27-21_PT.2

Project: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Date of Interview: Sep 23, 2004
Narrator(s): Bill Brosge
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


1) Geological connections between Alaska, Russia and the Canadian Rockies, and the organization of the Navy Oil Unit

2) His graduate work at Stanford University researching rock formations in the Brooks Range and Canada

3) His years of doing summer fieldwork and the involvement of his family

4) Using airplanes and helicopters to support fieldwork, and nearly crashing in a helicopter

5) How to emergency land a helicopter, and bear encounters during fieldwork

6) Radio contact they had during fieldwork, and the use of a new type of tracked vehicle

7) Working with Natives on St. Lawrence Island, radio contact during fieldwork in the southern Brooks Range, and being in the field during the 1967 Fairbanks flood

8) Effects of the Gates of the Arctic National Park on geological work

9) First taking women geologists into the field

10) Geological work near Wild Lake and in the Koyukok Basin related to oil exploration

11) Industry interest in and exploration for oil and minerals in the Brooks Range and the impact of the Gates of the Arctic National Park

12) Purpose of his research and use of his geologic maps for oil exploration

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: Gates of the Arctic\ boat trip\ North Fork Koyukuk River\ lessons -- learned\ food -- packing\ boat -- loss of\ Boreal Mountain\ river -- channel\ river -- route\ river -- fast water\ boat -- control of\ tree -- sweeper\ Reiser, Hill\ sweeper -- hitting\ river -- fall in\ rescue\ trees -- willows\ river -- high water\ Whittington, Charlie\ island -- stranded\ survival\ rope\ river -- crossing\ camp\ food -- lack of\ food -- caches\ Pyramid Creek\ boat -- finding\ boat -- canvas\ camp -- set-up\ boat -- lining down river\ boat -- swamping\ gear -- loss of\ radio\ message -- sandbar\ Anderson, Andy\ Bettles\ gear -- air-dropping\ gear -- sharing|

Section 2: bears\ food -- caches\ food -- air-dropped\ food -- C-Rations\ Anderson, Andy\ C-Rations -- dropping boxes\ boxes -- cardboard\ boxes -- condition of\ cigarettes -- exploded\ C-Rations -- contents\ cans\ food\ cigarettes\ toilet paper\ can opener\ C-Rations -- mixing\ cache -- drum\ Whittington, Charlie\ barrels -- lightweight\ barrels -- bears into\ cans -- crushed\ glass jars -- no damage|

Section 3: North Fork Koyukok River\ trip -- route\ Bombardment Creek\ Mount Doonerak\ Pyramid Creek\ ice field -- landing on\ alluvial fan\ cabin -- cache\ Ernie Creek\ Bettles\ flood\ John River\ river -- flood\ camps -- move\ river -- high water\ camp -- washed away\ sandbars -- lack of\ boats -- canvas\ boat -- wood parts\ boat -- wire ribs\ boat -- cache\ food -- apple pie\ Bettles -- lodge\ Anderson, Andy\ Anderson, Hannah\ walking -- carrying pie\ boat -- put together\ boats -- quality of\ navigation -- river\ boat -- stern first\ rowing -- downstream\ current\ boat -- control of\ rowing -- pull against current\ oars -- size of\ boat -- maneuverability|

Section 4: North Fork Koyukuk River\ trip -- purpose of\ geology -- mapping\ rocks -- new\ Gates, George -- health\ Fairbanks -- hospital\ expedition -- area covered\ walking -- efficiency\ helicopter -- first use\ President Eisenhower\ exploration -- stopped\ report -- writing\ Mangus, Marv\ Brooks Range -- flying\ geology -- survey\ injury -- spine\ accident\ nails -- keg of\ keg -- lifting\ doctor -- medication\ pain|

Section 5: expedition -- preparation\ expedition -- gear\ expedition -- crew\ expedition -- planning\ Patton, Bill\ photographs -- aerial\ map -- photo-geologic\ gear -- storage\ Fairbanks\ warehouse\ gear -- purchase\ food -- candy bars\ Porcupine River\ food -- Italian salami\ supplies -- shipping\ fuel -- ordering\ helicopter\ fuel -- amount used\ fuel -- drums\ drums -- cached\ airplane -- landing\ lake\ airstrip\ Anaktuvuk Pass\ Arctic Village|

Section 6: fieldseason -- length of\ expedition -- planning\ Fairbanks\ caches\ Mangus, Marv\ caches -- placing\ Whittington, Charlie\ Brooks Range -- northeast\ caching -- timing of\ break-up\ Umiat\ party chief -- Brosge, Bill\ helicopter -- contract\ planning -- advance\ arrival -- advance\ camp -- set-up\ vehicle -- weasel\ camp -- moving\ expedition -- preparation\ shopping list\ logistics -- support\ gear -- personal|

Section 7: fieldwork -- helicopter\ trips -- differences in\ vehicle -- weasel\ camp -- moving\ fuel -- barrels\ camps -- base\ Trans-Alaska Pipeline\ camp -- building\ helicopter -- distance covered\ Haul Road\ Survey Pass\ map -- looking at\ Brooks Range -- northeast\ Canada\ Lake Peters\ camp -- spike\ helicopter -- daily travel\ helicopter -- first use of\ helicopter -- types of\ field assistant -- Berkland, Jim\ helicopter -- contract\ US Geological Survey\ helicopter contract -- bids\ budget -- uncertainty\ helicopters -- companies|

Section 8: flying -- close-calls\ helicopter -- landing\ Reiser, Hill\ Canada\ landing -- downwind\ ridge -- missing\ bears -- close-encounters\ bears -- grizzly\ bears -- fear of people\ safety\ work -- pairs\ Wiseman\ Reiser, Hill -- carry torch\ bear -- fear of fire\ gun -- revolver\ bears -- lack of problem\ Dutro, Tom\ Echooka River\ bear -- droppings\ blueberries\ bear -- catch up with\ Wiseman -- Pioneer Hall\ geology -- mapping\ helicopter -- use of\ river -- crossing\ road -- old\ Wiseman -- tramway\ map -- looking at\ Wiseman Creek\ Hammond River|

Section 9: Brooks Range -- last trip\ Noatak River\ Ellersiek, Inyo\ trip -- purpose of\ Nielsen, Tor\ sandstone\ camp -- set-up\ geologists -- women\ mapping -- quadrangle\ Dutro, Tom\ Hoare, Janet\ Kotzebue\ airplane -- unloading\ camp -- location\ Tailleur, Irv\ equipment -- garden cart\ gear -- hauling\ camp -- rules\ smoking\ flood -- damage from\ party chief -- abandoned group\ field -- leaving\ airplane -- back of\ Noatak Canyon|

Section 10: fieldwork -- enjoyment\ fieldwork -- good about\ regulations -- lack of\ Fish and Wildlife Service\ experiences -- new\ fieldwork -- tired of\ fieldwork -- quit\ fieldwork -- hardships\ hardship -- family\ Brosge, Bill -- wife\ children -- none\ wife-- job\ job -- geologic map editor\ job -- Army engineer intelligence\ Washington, DC\ CIA\ California -- moved to\ fieldwork -- travel\ Great Falls, Maryland\ work -- post- field work\ Alaska\ Bureau of Mines\ State Geological Survey\ US Geological Survey\ Bureau of Mines -- history of\ job -- re-hired\ job -- retired\ job -- emeritus\ mapping -- geologic\ map -- Arctic quadrangle\ maps -- colored\ maps -- production\ maps -- financing|

Section 11: map making -- changes in\ computer\ maps -- hand-drawn\ maps -- geologic\ maps -- printing\ Washington, DC\ Government Printing Office\ map -- looking at\ map -- Arctic quadrangle\ Old John Lake\ Arctic Village\ Gates of the Arctic National Park\ Park -- changes from\ park boundary -- meaningless\ Arctic National Wildlife Range\ Park, creation of\ map -- Wiseman quadrangle\ Dillon, John\ Dillon, John -- death\ regulations\ Fish and Wildlife Service\ map -- Table Mountain quad\ map -- photo-geology\ regulations -- peregrine falcons\ regulations -- sheep hunters\ geology -- restrictions\ helicopters -- restrictions\ fieldwork -- alternatives\ work -- efficiency\ fieldwork -- changes in\ regulations -- prevented work\ camp -- airplane access\ airstrip -- clearing\ brush cutting -- not allowed\ regulations -- impatience with\ fieldwork -- missing\ fieldwork -- quit|

Section 12: Brooks Range -- geology\ Brosge, Bill -- contribution\ maps -- geologic\ geology -- generalized\ work -- checking on\ maps -- use of\ fieldwork -- need for\ Gates of the Arctic National Park -- effect of\ Park -- knowledge of\ Park -- protection\ work -- permission to do|