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Dave Evans, Part 1
Dave Evans

Dave Evans was interviewed on November 11, 1991 by William Schneider in Anchorage, Alaska. The interview was conducted in Dave's living room, sitting on comfortable couches. Dave's walls were decorated with fine art; there was an antique china chest, and a wooden lamp and clock which are examples of fine woodworking. This setting is in many ways a contrast to the life he describes out on the river, a life which was, in the early years, quite austere. In the interview, he describes his life on the river in a manner which demonstrates that he has thought hard about his experiences and is able to articulate what they mean to him now. In this first part of a two part interview, Dave talks about living in a remote cabin on the Nation River in what is now Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, his reasons for moving out there, building a cabin and making a living by trapping, fishing and hunting, and his love of being connected with nature and the other people living in the region. He also talks about why he chose to leave and then work for the National Park Service on restoration of historic structures, despite previoulsy challenging relations between river residents and the National Park Service.

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Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 91-22-39

Project: Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Date of Interview: Nov 11, 1991
Narrator(s): Dave Evans
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
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1) Personal background

2) Moving to Alaska

3) Moving to the Nation River with Sarge Waller's help

4) His love of using an ax, the feeling of "connectedness" with nature, and his values

5) Lining and poling boats and canoes on the river

6) First winter in the Nation cabin, 1974-75

7) Decisions they made about trapping, fishing, and using dogs

8) Other cabins they built, and the rationale of restoration or new construction of cabins

9) The affinity he feels to "Phonograph Nelson" by virtue of using the same country and many of the same cabins and sites, and his interest in other old timers and the area's history

10) His philosophy on cabin construction, trail clearing, and human participation in nature

11) How similarity of appointments in cabins and familiarity of routines contributed to the feeling that "everywhere was home"

12) Gender roles, and division of labor

13) Leaving the Nation River and moving away

14) Decision to work for the National Park Service

15) His personal liking for many of the National Park Service people, though he disliked what they represented to him

16) 1976 trip down the river with Melody Webb, and searching out and examining historic sites

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Section 1: Evans, Dave\ Lexington, Massachusetts\ farming - values\ travel - benefits\ farming - haying\ haying - hand-mowing\ farming - fencing\ trapping - comparison with fencing\ Berwick Academy|

Section 2: Evans, Dave\ rural lifestyle - rationale\ northern areas - appeal\ Whitehorse, Yukon Territories\ Snow, Brad\ Appalachian Mountain Club\ permits - Canadian government\ Patton, Sage\ Allen, Lily\ cabin site - selection criteria\ bush living - income\ Cook, Dick\ McMullen, Terry\ Waller, Sarge\ Nation River\ Hajak, Joe|

Section 3: Describing the Wallers, the "official host and hostess of Eaglequot;\ Waller, Sarge\ Waller, Louise\ Slana\ Kandik River\ Taylor, Larry\ summer travel - lining canoes\ river travel - canoes\ Nation River - site selection\ bush living - floods\ cabins - construction\ cabins - Nation River\ Snow, Brad\ Allen, Lily\ Patton, Sage\ Evans, Dave\ Cook, Dick\ Edwards, Charlie\ Edwards, Cher\ bush living - travel to town|

Section 4: bush living - level of technology\ river people - purism\ self-sufficiency - philosophy\ Evans, Dave\ Snow, Brad\ Allen, Lily\ transportation - airplanes\ bush living - supplies\ McCall, Dave\ river people - isolation\ river people - dependence on "outside" world\ values - replicating older times\ guns\ outboard motors versus paddling\ chainsaw versus Swede saw\ "proving" yourself|

Section 5: Evans, Dave\ lining canoes - description\ Brown, Randy\ poling canoes - description\ "bite" of the line\ dogs - lining canoes\ pole versus paddle\ summer travel - lining and poling\ river travel - traditional knowledge\ Nation River - summer travel\ river travel - high water|

Section 6: Evans, Dave\ Patton, Sage\ cabins - Nation River\ river people - lifestyle\ bush living - wood cutting\ level of technology - choices\ bush living - daily routine\ cabin location - criteria|

Section 7: trapping - income\ bush living - income\ marten\ subsistence - acreage requirements\ caribou - Nation River\ fishing - salmon\ fishing - subsistence\ dogs - salmon requirement\ Cook, Dick\ dog teams - summer\ dogs - breeding\ bush travel - values\ winter travel - dogs\ land - intangible values|

Section 8: cabins - Nation River\ "Phonograph Nelson" - Nelson, Kris\ cabins - Nation Bluff\ cabins - Hard Luck Creek\ Evans, Gail\ cabins - distance between\ winter travel|

Section 9: "Phonograph Nelson" - Nelson, Kris\ Bluff Cabin - Nelson, Kris\ Nelson, Chris\ Alaska Road Commission\ Wyman, Fritz\ Beck, George\ trapping - Nelson, Kris\ hunting - market\ Evans, Dave|

Section 10: Evans, Dave\ wood cutting - values\ Yukon-Charley - human activity\ cabins - Tinder Waterfall\ cabins - Rock Creek\ cabins - Middle Manor\ Brown, Randy\ Ricketts, Larry\ cabins - site selection\ site selection - criteria\ Snow, Brad\ cabin construction - hand tools\ cabin tools - level of technology\ cabins - interior layout\ radio reception - antennas\ bush living - radio programs|

Section 11: bush living - radio\ cabins - appointments\ bush living - daily routine\ travel - gear\ trapping - gear\ fish camp - gear\ Evans, Dave|

Section 12: bush living - division of labor\ river people - gender roles\ gender roles\ Evans, Dave\ Patton, Sage\ cooking\ trapping - skinning\ Native Alaskans - gender roles\ fishing - division of labor\ cabin construction - division of labor\ gardening - division of labor\ travel - division of labor\ dog teams - ownership\ seasonal round\ travel - walking\ river people - visiting|

Section 13: land status - changing\ Evans, Dave\ Bureau of Land Management\ National Park Service\ Doyon Corporation\ land status - politics\ trapping - regulations\ river people - relationship with NPS\ bush living - diminishing challenges\ seasonal round - repetition\ Patton, Sage\ National Park Service - jobs|

Section 14: government agencies - attitudes towards\ Evans, Dave\ bush living - independence\ National Park Service - jobs\ river people - relationship with NPS\ Brown, Bill\ Webb, Melody\ Hannah Jim\ Chew, John\ lifestyle - changes\ Yukon-Charley - impact\ Mihalic, Dave\ Foreman, Bill|

Section 15: National Park Service - personnel\ Yukon-Charley - impact\ Bureau of Land Management - land-use philosophy\ Nation River - oil exploration\ resources - development\ bush living - rationale\ regulations - flexibility\ Coming Into the Country\ ANILCA\ cabin permits\ subsistence - perpetuation\ river people - attrition\ National Park Service - administrative inconsistency\ regulations - interpretation\ Evans, Dave\ government agencies - direction and responsibility|

Section 16: Cooperative Park Studies Unit\ Webb, Melody\ Evans, Dave\ Shinkwin, Anne\ Yukon-Charley - history\ historic sites - Yukon-Charley\ hunting\ camping - gender roles\ Montok Roadhouse\ Woodchopper Roadhouse\ trails\ trap lines - marten deadfall|