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Ed Gelvin
Ed Gelvin

Ed Gelvin was interviewed on November 2, 1991 by Dan O'Neill and William Schneider at Ed's log cabin in Central, Alaska. The yard contained his construction equipment and airplanes and included a small landing strip and a hangar. The interview was conducted at his kitchen table; his wife and grandson were in the background. His wife, Virginia, did not wish to participate in the interview, although at times she added her opinions and perspective. There were a couple of hunting dogs in the house, and books on flying and fishing were prominent in the home. Ed was reserved and quiet in the interview, but voiced strong opinions about Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve and willingly described his many years of flying and getting to know many of the old-timers in the area. He speaks with an authority derived from hours of flying in the country as a registered guide and aerial wolf hunter. In this interview, Ed talks about his mining, flying, hunting and guiding activities in the area of Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. He describes and tells stories about many of the early pioneers in the area, as well as the more recent "river people" who arrived in the 1960s and 1970s. He also talks about issues with the National Park Service over land selection and use, conflicts between resource development and protection, and his support for aerial wolf hunting.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 91-22-55

Project: Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Date of Interview: Nov 2, 1991
Narrator(s): Ed Gelvin
Interviewer(s): Dan O'Neill, Bill Schneider
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
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1) Personal background

2) Mining experiences

3) Working in the Yukon-Charley Rivers area

4) Old timers

5) Tough outdoor types

6) Missed opportunities to stake land and hold patent, and difficulty of dealing with government agencies

7) Misuse of cabins, Preserve visitors;, and early park service plans

8) Additional old timers

9) John McPhee's book "Coming into the Country" and the river people of the late 1960's and 1970's

10) Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve

11) Building the airstrip

12) Aerial wolf hunting

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Section 1: Gelvin, Ed\ Crawford County, Pennsylvania\ World War II - United States Navy\ Gelvin, Virginia\ Central\ mining - Circle district|

Section 2: Gelvin, Ed\ prospecting - Central area\ Harrison Creek - mining\ mining - Harrison Creek\ Squaw Creek - mining\ mining - Squaw Creek\ mining - 1960's economics\ gold prices - 1970's\ Nixon, Richard|

Section 3: Gelvin, Ed\ guide examinations\ game populations - upper Charley River\ Charley River - game\ cabins - upper Charley River\ Stout, Earl - Highland Creek\ Highland Creek - sheep\ sheep\ moose\ bear\ Hannah Creek\ cabins - Hannah Creek\ airplanes - supply transport\ bush living - airplanes|

Section 4: Berail, Phil - Weber Creek\ Stout, Earl - Nation River\ Nenana Bridge - Stout, Earl\ Stout, Earl - Nation River\ Zimmerman, Tony\ Ketchum Creek - mining\ Alaska Road Commission - Central\ Wilson, Sam - Birch Creek\ Stout, Earl - Charley River\ Berail, Phil - Charley River\ Charley River - trapping\ trapping - Charley River\ lynx\ marten\ wolverine\ wolf\ cabins - Bonanza Creek\ Ames, Al - Charley River\ airplane wreck - B-24\ cabins - Berail, Phil\ trails - Coal Creek\ cabins - Hosford Creek\ cabins - Copper Creek\ cabins - Essie Creek\ Highland Creek\ Patty, Ernest Sr.\ Berail, Phil - postmaster at Woodchopper\ Woodchopper - post office\ Berail, Phil - story|

Section 5: Kidd, Charlie - dogs\ wolves - hunting\ Ames cabin - Kidd, Charlie\ Kidd, Charlie - Erickson Creek\ cabins - Erickson Creek\ cabins - Swede built\ "bushy"|

Section 6: Gelvin, Ed\ cabins - Charley River\ cabins - moose hunting\ guiding - moose hunters\ recreation sites - patents\ staking land - recreation\ government agencies - lying\ Bureau of Land Management - lying\ land ownership - claims\ land status - changing\ ANCSA\ cabin permits\ bureaucracy - interpreting regulations\ National Park Service - cabin permits\ government agencies - contradicting policies\ regulations\ cabin use - seasonal round\ subsistence regulations - inadequate|

Section 7: floaters - impact\ cabins - visitor use\ National Park Service - planning\ National Park Service - visitor promotion\ summer travel - walking|

Section 8: Soboloff, Simon\ Central\ Brown, Al\ old timers - Nation River\ Coal Creek\ Woodchopper\ Berail, Phil - Fortymile|

Section 9: McPhee, John\ river people - attitudes towards\ river people\ Yukon-Charley - transportation\ trails - gold rush\ winter travel - dog teams\ winter travel - snowshoeing\ winter travel - snowmachines\ Evans, Dave - Nation River\ Cook, Dick\ bush living - airplanes\ airplanes - trail spotting\ Brown, Randy - trails|

Section 10: subsistence - future of\ subsistence - non-Native\ government agencies - harassment\ "Bureaucrats"\ Brown, Bill\ National Park Service - political action\ wilderness - incompatible with NPS ownership\ Carroll, Albert\ Seiberling, John\ Howe, Bob\ Charley River - float trip\ Crescent Creek\ Erickson Creek - cabin\ Bureau of Outdoor Recreation\ Seiberling Tires\ "outside" attitudes\ Alaskans - lack of political power\ environmentalism\ Rampart Dam\ Yukon-Charley - ineffective to preserve\ National Park Service - contradictions in mandate\ National Park Service - monetary waste\ Yukon-Charley - impact|

Section 11: construction equipment - Ranger\ airstrip construction\ construction equipment - flown in\ "drag"\ Salcha River - mining\ mining - equipment\ cat trail - Woodchopper - Salcha\ trails - Belenberg\ D-9 cats\ trails - Birch Creek\ winter travel - equipment|

Section 12: airplanes - wolf hunting\ hunting - wolf\ aerial hunting\ wolves - hunting from airplanes\ Gelvin, Ed\ Gelvin, Virginia\ National Park Service - hunting\ wolf hunting - regulations\ predator population - wolves\ wolves - impact on moose population\ tracking wolves\ ammunition - aerial hunting\ wolves - bounty\ airplanes - configuration for hunting\ wolves - value of skins\ wolf hunting issue - controversy\ government agencies - wildlife\ Alaska Game Commission\ Miner, Joe\ Glaser, Frank\ wolves - story\ predator control - poison\ bait stations\ cyanide guns|