Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)




Melody Graulich


In this thesis, I examined the lives of my great-grandparents, Oscar and Emma Swett. Oscar began a homestead in the Uinta Mountains in 1909, which he successfully ran for nearly sixty years. My grandmother was born on the ranch, and my own father spent much of his time there. I look at how land policy changed from encouraging ranching and farming in the early 1900's to tourism and recreation in the 1960's, with the coming of the Flaming Gorge Dam. The lives of my great-grandparents and their children were shaped by these changes and they felt the consequences of the shifting values of the Forest Service and government.

I used many primary documents in my research, from interviews given by the Swett children to photographs and documents. I also drew from literature and research by other western authors, such as Wallace Stegner, Mary Clearman Blew, and Steve Trimble. I connected my personal and family stories and memories with the larger framework of land policy in the West and the culture of ranching families similar to my own family. This enabled me to show how land policy affected many individuals and families on a personal level, looking through the prism of my own family and experiences.




This work made publicly available electronically on November 22, 2010.