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!

George Gryc, Part 3

This is a continuation of the interview with George Gryc on September 21, 2004 with Karen Brewster in Menlo Park, California. This is part three of tape number Oral History 2002-27-19. The interview continues in part four of tape number Oral History 2002-27-19. The interview began in parts one and two of tape number Oral History 2002-27-19. In this part of the interview, George talks about the 1945 Chandler River field expedition, the challenges of doing remote geological fieldwork, the relationships with the local Native community, the early days of oil exploration and industry relations with the USGS, and his favorite places in the Brooks Range.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2002-27-19_PT.3

Project: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Date of Interview: Sep 21, 2004
Narrator(s): George Gryc
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) Members of his 1945 Chandler River geological field expedition

2) The closeness of northern geologists, how geological fieldwork has changed with land use regulations, and an injured peregrine falcon his field party rescued

3) Hardships of fieldwork and how they handled mosquitoes

4) Relationships between Natives and non-Natives in the early days of exploring the Brooks Range

5) Relationship of the US Geological Survey, the Navy, and the oil industry in the early days of northern geological exploration work

6) History of the Menlo Park office of the US Geological Survey and relationship of the Survey with the Navy in Alaska oil exploration work

7) Relationship of Natives with scientists doing research in the Brooks Range

8) The lack of Natives and families at work camps like Umiat, and his work on a report to review the cumulative impacts of oil development on the North Slope

9) His favorite places in the Brooks Range and northern Alaska, and how the rivers flowing north can be disorienting for some people

10) Enjoying the isolation and adventure of early fieldwork and how geological fieldwork has changed

11) Getting his first job with the US Geological Survey in Alaska and how it helped him from being drafted into the military during World War II

12) Effects of the creation of Gates of the Arctic National Park, and differences between doing fieldwork and administrative work

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: Hipple twins -- hiring of\ Hipple twins -- field assistants\ work -- isolation\ safety\ work -- pairs\ Yale University\ Pierre, South Dakota\ newspaper\ Webber, Ed\ University of Minnesota\ Steffansson, Karl\ Iceland\ John Hopkins University\ fisherman\ Banks, Walton\ surveyor\ Maryland\ people -- getting along\ fear -- lack of\ caribou\ mountain sheep\ Brooks Range\ Castle Mountain\ sheep -- meat|

Section 2: fieldworkers -- relationship between\ geologists -- North Slope\ geologists -- close group\ National Petroleum Reserve (NPRA\ restrictions -- Native groups\ restrictions -- Park\ land -- ownership\ geology -- permission\ National Park Service\ Bureau of Land Management\ regulations -- environmental\ Colville River\ birds -- types of\ bird -- rough-legged hawk\ bird -- peregrine falcon\ nest -- fight over\ bird -- injury\ Rossopoulous, Hal\ bird -- rescue\ bird -- feeding\ fish -- grayling\ fish -- liver\ bird -- left behind\ birds -- population\ chemicals -- DDT\ chemicals -- effects of\ birds -- protection of\ fieldwork -- changes in|

Section 3: fieldwork -- hardships\ fieldwork -- conditions\ tundra\ clothing -- type of\ mosquitoes\ mosquito -- nets\ mosquitoes -- getting used to\ insecticide -- DDT bombs\ tent\ DDT -- effects of\ Kuskokwim River\ insecticide -- Buhack\ Buhack -- effects of|

Section 4: Natives -- relationship with\ Navy\ Chandler Lake -- people\ people -- move\ Wien, Sig\ airstrip\ Anaktuvuk Pass\ supplies -- access to\ store\ Kakinya, Elijah\ Paneak family\ Natives -- benefits\ supplies -- shortage of\ fuel -- shortage of\ Umiat\ supplies -- Navy\ fuel -- access to\ airplane\ supplies -- delivery\ Chandler Lake\ Paneak, Simon\ furs -- trade of\ fur -- wolf\ fur -- marmot\ Northern Commercial Company\ furs -- credit for\ Rulland, Frank\ supplies -- ordering\ supplies -- delivered by airplane\ supplies -- basic|

Section 5: Naval Arctic Research Laboratory (NARL)\ Navy petroleum research\ Office of Naval Research\ Brewer, Max\ US Geological Survey -- geophysicist\ Reed, John\ Laboratory -- directorship\ Brewer, Max -- work for Survey\ Navy Oil Unit\ geologic work -- continuation of\ information -- public domain\ data -- Navy\ geophysical profiles\ industry -- use of information\ US Geological Survey -- open file\ oil company -- digitized information\ data -- analysis\ report -- sale of\ funding -- Navy\ funding -- lack of|

Section 6: US Geological Survey\ Brooks Range Project\ Tallieur, Irv\ Dutro, Tom\ Brosge, Bill\ Mull, Gil\ Menlo Park, California\ US Geological Survey -- Alaska Branch\ Navy Oil Unit\ US Geological Survey -- establishment in Menlo Park, California\ US Geological Survey -- history\ land -- military base\ Stanford University\ General Services Administration\ property -- availability\ PET4 -- Navy\ oil shale\ North Slope\ Brooks Range -- mineral deposits\ zinc deposit -- discovery|

Section 7: Natives -- relationship with\ scientists -- relationship with\ Anaktuvuk Pass\ working archeologist\ research -- birds\ Paneak, Simon\ Rausch, Bob\ research -- parasites\ dances\ relationship -- changes in\ Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act\ village -- development\ Brosge, Bill\ helicopter\ camp -- Tallieur, Irv\ Kakinya, Elijah\ Rulland, Frank\ Native dance\ leadership\ Mekiana, Homer\ Rose, Pete\ dance -- cancellation of\ Paneak house\ drumming\ singing\ dancing -- Inupiat\ dance -- spiritual\ Nunamiut\ friendships -- close\ youth -- no obligation|

Section 8: Natives -- relationship with\ scientists\ Umiat\ Brower, Harry\ camp -- restrictions\ restrictions -- women\ restrictions -- family\ school -- lack of\ Prudhoe Bay\ Nuiqsut\ Brewer, Max\ Natives -- adaptability of\ Natives -- skills\ Natives -- spiritually\ nature -- beliefs about\ book -- "Environmental Impacts of Oil and Gas Activities on the North Slope"\ National Research Council\ oil development -- effects of\ North Slope\ committee -- work by\ Lachenbruch, Art\ Barrow\ Nuiqsut\ Kaktovik\ Arctic Village\ Anaktuvuk Pass\ oil development -- impact on Inupiat|

Section 9: Brooks Range\ job -- supervisor\ field parties -- visited\ Brooks Range -- travel\ Gates of the Arctic National Park\ places -- favorite\ Chandler Lake\ Arctic National Wildlife Refuge\ Canning River\ Lake Peters\ Schrader Lake\ Brooks Range -- beauty\ reconnaissance -- aerial\ musk ox\ Leffingwell, Ernest de K.\ trees -- poplar\ trees -- North Slope\ Chandler River\ trees -- appearance of\ trees -- juniper\ Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- springs\ rivers -- flowing north\ direction -- sense of\ pilot -- new\ Shainin Lake (Kanayut Lake)\ Umiat\ Colville River\ pilot -- flying wrong direction\ Brosge, Bill\ North Slope|

Section 10: fieldwork -- geological\ fieldwork -- changes\ geologist -- oil company\ camp -- geology\ geologist -- fly-in\ isolation\ wilderness\ Prudhoe Bay\ vastness\ work -- comfortable\ work -- speed of\ adventure -- lack of\ expedition -- thrill of\ walking\ mosquitoes\ fieldwork -- value of\ fieldwork -- hardship\ fieldwork -- overtakes reality\ home -- stop missing\ environment -- become part of|

Section 11: wife\ family\ fieldwork -- travel\ employment\ jobs -- lack of\ World War II\ US Geological Survey -- reputation\ geology -- research\ military service\ brothers -- military\ military service -- deferral\ college\ University of Minnesota\ officers training\ Navy -- intelligence\ photo interpretation\ job -- US Geological Survey\ job -- war minerals program\ draft notice\ US Geological Survey -- Alaska Branch\ Washington, D.C.\ deferment -- appeal\ Alaska\ Fairbanks\ draft board -- report to\ Gates, George\ military -- AWOL\ work -- complete traverse\ World War II -- end\ draft -- removed from\ war effort -- contribution to\ censorship -- mail\ censorship -- radio\ bombs -- balloon\ Japanese\ balloon bombs -- North Slope|

Section 12: Gates of the Arctic National Park\ Park designation -- effect of\ wilderness\ beauty\ resource potential\ mineral occurrences\ isolation\ land -- protection of\ geology -- effect on\ geology -- results of\ geology -- use of\ geology -- understanding of\ Park -- access\ Park -- regulations\ bears\ Marshall, Robert\ book -- "In this Country"\ book -- "Arctic Wilderness"\ book -- "Landscapes of Alaska"\ National Park Service\ US Geological Service -- Alaska branch\ places -- descriptions\ Brooks Range\ Collins, George\ fieldwork -- missing\ work -- administrative\ administration -- attitude about\ staff -- accomplishments\ Brosge, Bill\ Tallieur, Irv\ Navy drilling program\ oil drilling -- excitement of\ drilling rig\ North Slope|