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Martha Chastain Interview

Interviewer:
Testing, testing, one, two, three. This is an interview with Mary Chastain, Former Information Officer for the Department of Natural Resources. Well, it's not the quality. It's just to [INAUDIBLE]. OK, let me give you the overall idea of what I'm trying to do with my project. I think there's a few lanes, especially since there has been such a big turnover in personnel in what used to be the Division of lands.

There are a lot of people who feel, personally if they're really unfamiliar with how the selection process took place. And I think in spite the fact that the selection process has changed recently, I guess in '78, there was a formal policy in regards to how spurious selections would be made. I think a lot of people would feel that would be useful to know how the selections were made in past just for an historical, an idea of how things evolved in the bureaucratic system.

I think also some of the people who deal with land management [INAUDIBLE] poor people downstairs the section that I work with, would like to know what some of the people who did the selections had in mind when they made the selections [INAUDIBLE] a fancy computerized resource assessment system now. But there's no way of knowing how comprehensive the information that was put into that system is, and what kind of specialized knowledge various people had who were making the selections over the years, things that present land managers might not know about, [INAUDIBLE].

I realize that you work with public information with the Division of Lands. So I wouldn't expect you to-- correct me if I'm wrong-- that your knowledge of specific lands would be very extensive [INAUDIBLE] about that.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. And doing research for the public [INAUDIBLE]. I went from Homer to Nome across the country every day and looking up things for people.

Interviewer:
On maps?

Martha:
Yes, on maps. Yes.

Interviewer:
I was hoping to get a lot of information from you about how the land selection process evolved, people who were involved with making the land selection etc. and just how policy changed, for instance, the way the administration's changed. I want to clear up one thing to begin with. You started, you said, in May '62 for the department. Do you go by Mary or Martha?

Martha:
Martha. Not Mary

Interviewer:
Somebody referred to you as Mary. I thought maybe it was a nickname.

Martha:
They might have said Marty.

Interviewer:
Marty? And then you retired in '76?

Martha:
July the 30th, '76. [INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
OK, and what positions did you hold [INAUDIBLE]?

Martha:
Public information Manager of Land Lines, they change all these different titles under job description. But it's still basically the same.

Interviewer:
Your Land Lines have been a real boon to me put together in a couple of volumes here. And it's just been a wonderful source of information [INAUDIBLE]. Actually, I think that [INAUDIBLE] some of the later copies [INAUDIBLE] over at the library at the annual [INAUDIBLE].

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. In fact, I came back to finish up the work because we were getting a lot of menu selections at the time. And [INAUDIBLE] needed some research on land records done. And I was working [INAUDIBLE]. I left some stuff with him [INAUDIBLE]. But [INAUDIBLE] on the various speeches [INAUDIBLE] that we have having benefited the company. [INAUDIBLE]

I had that indexed. All I had to do after [INAUDIBLE] was to put it together [INAUDIBLE]. But [INAUDIBLE]. It's a pretty big job when you go back to index things like that.

Interviewer:
I can imagine.

Martha:
From the beginning to the time [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
You were trying to index speeches and official plans, publications.

Martha:
Various things.

Interviewer:
Going back to statehood?

Martha:
Well, the division [INAUDIBLE], which was [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
So you accomplished the work. But it wasn't printed though.

Martha:
It had to go through [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
[INAUDIBLE]. I'd love to see--

Martha:
I think Bob has it. [INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
He never mentioned it.

Martha:
I would like to see [INAUDIBLE]. Because I'm afraid of it being pitched.

Interviewer:
Oh, god. I certainly hope it hasn't.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. And historic [INAUDIBLE] got pitched.

Interviewer:
That's really a shame.

Martha:
Even vital records, like our land registration bids. I remember when pulling out-- oh, well, we haven't used these and out then went. And when you go to research land registration back, you have to go back sometimes to the very beginning. And it's really a pain if you don't have these older records. But younger people don't realize the value of the older records.

Interviewer:
When I first started on my project, I must have spent over the course of several weeks two full days of my time looking for old maps. Several people, including [INAUDIBLE], remember it existing. And it would have made my job so much easier. And I even found corporate division of technical services on northern lights. I found--

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Within that file, I found a little square where the maps used to be that I was looking for, a whole series of overlays for ECL map that has shown state land selections at various times. What they used to do was, they had that map that had each township in a state with a notation about, an open circle for state land selection and a closed circle [INAUDIBLE]. And they kept updating the map, but they never kept the old versions because they kept updating the original. So there's no--

Martha:
Well, sometimes the older version [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Not anymore. So I know exactly what you mean when you say that I bet all the old stuff was pitched. It's really a shame.

Martha:
Because we were handling those all the time. We could tell [INAUDIBLE] title here, [INAUDIBLE]. So therefore, they worked out an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management that we would be able to [INAUDIBLE] do various things with it [INAUDIBLE] because it was considered as being practically the same as a patent at that time. I think you'll find in land lines here.

Interviewer:
I found several references-- and I wanted to ask you about that-- several references to agreements reached between BLM and Division of Lands about how conveyances were going to be dealt with. But when did that policy first start where a TA was considered sufficient title for the state to do most-- the state could convey a patent to a private owner because it didn't have patent. But they could do most leases and things like that. Do you know when that first started? Maybe you'll find it where I didn't? So you were the person who did the index [INAUDIBLE]?

Martha:
Yeah.

Interviewer:
That must have been quite a project.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. But I knew that was the value of it.

Interviewer:
It's really a big help. [INAUDIBLE]

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE] a beautiful job. And we have all things like this in between [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Yeah. I think it was probably fairly early on.

Martha:
Yes. It was earlier than that.

Interviewer:
The earliest notation that I have here about-- let's see-- in August of '62 there was an agreement. Well, I don't know if I was an agreement, or just unilateral decision by BLM that blanket selections. It didn't happen at the same time as that.

Martha:
No. But I'm trying to pinpoint. It was 14 years.

Interviewer:
Yeah. No. I realize that's us.

Martha:
It's an unfair questions. 1962 you said August? There was always more that you could shake out, but [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
I don't think it's terrible crucial that we pinpoint the date, but I thought if we could, it would be interesting.

Martha:
I'm sure somewhere in here there will be a record [INAUDIBLE]. And I think [INAUDIBLE]. And those things, you feel like it's a thankless job. [INAUDIBLE] get it done and have it done.

Interviewer:
Well, I think that's the first thing I'm going to do when I'm finished with this interview is call Bob and find out about that because I'm sure that will be a big help to them. I'm going down to Juneau the week after next to look in the state archives and see what material I can find.

Martha:
Well, they have all the land lines [INAUDIBLE]. And brought it back because we have [INAUDIBLE] personal business. But [INAUDIBLE] and it was--

Interviewer:
[INAUDIBLE] archives?

Martha:
It was in--

Interviewer:
One of the records centers?

Martha:
One of the records centers about 20 boxes. I don't know which one [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
There are all kinds of old, moldy leases downstairs.

Martha:
And, of course, because I was in public information, they come tearing down. Martha, can you find this land lease [INAUDIBLE], or can you find this or this, this old land lease [INAUDIBLE]? And I tried. [INAUDIBLE]. And the old regulations. Because the minute new regulations came out... pitched. Everything went out. And then they were pulling their hair to find out what the regulations were at the time. But these old leases were issued. Now, that was in [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Yeah.

Martha:
It was just-- I think many people did not realize the value of the older things, how many times you would have the records go back [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
It's incredible to be because it's apparent that, first of all, a lot of the land agreements are ongoing leases and things like that. And certainly, land selections are things that are slowly passing into state [INAUDIBLE]. And certainly, previous records about those things would be useful [INAUDIBLE] those lands today. So I have no understanding why people would chuck things.

Martha:
Well, they went through a [INAUDIBLE] stage that anything old, even two years old, was [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
It seems like that when I go back and look at things.

Martha:
But Bob and I tried very hard to save as much. And I knew that Bob he would hang on to things [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Yeah. [INAUDIBLE] call about that index because I think that would be a big help for me.

Martha:
Well, the thing I would like to do-- I can't right now. But because personal business and various things but I would like to go back and finish that up [INAUDIBLE] and because that's what has to be done first, word processing, and proofing. And then [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Yeah. I'm sure--

Martha:
So it isn't the big job. In other words, the basic big job is done. [INAUDIBLE] hang onto it. That's history. Well, let's see. Did you run through the director's messages? Yes. you got the director's messages are.

Interviewer:
Actually, I think it's really crucial that you pointed out-- [INAUDIBLE].

Martha:
That's a possibility. They tried many things , you'll find that when Rosco was director He kept the public informed through his messages.

Interviewer:
Yeah, I'm sorry that I'm not going to have the chance to sit down and talk with him, I'm hoping that maybe a weekend [INAUDIBLE].

Martha:
He's at [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
[INAUDIBLE]. Yeah, as a matter of fact, [INAUDIBLE] gave me his address. I'm going to try to give him a call later.

Martha:
And Joe [INAUDIBLE] was here before I was. And he worked in Lands.

Interviewer:
Yeah. I've been trying to get in touch with him. I left a message for him to call me back.

Martha:
And Jim Holiday was here before I was.

Interviewer:
Yeah. I think--

Martha:
He worked in Lands.

Interviewer:
Yeah. Do you know? Is he retired now? I'm trying to reach him at his home number.

Martha:
He retired-- health-- he had a stroke. But it was [INAUDIBLE]. He recovered beautifully, and everything is just fine.

Interviewer:
You don't know that he's working somewhere. I'm just having trouble reaching him.

Martha:
I doubt he is. But he loves [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Aha, OK. So at least I know he's in good health.

Martha:
Yes, he is.

Interviewer:
As a matter of fact, I have a notation here of his address. I'm going to leave a note in his mailbox and have him try to get in touch with me. Maybe he's out on vacation or something like that.

Martha:
Well, at one time he was flying in and out. He was going out for airplanes. [INAUDIBLE]. I didn't ask him the last time I saw him. [INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Because I've been trying to reach him for about a week now. There's never any answer at his home phone number. Does he live alone?

Martha:
Yes.

Interviewer:
When you started with Division of Lands in May of '62, I was curious. In 1960, and '61-- '59, I guess the Division of Lands was still here. [INAUDIBLE] that I did mange to make quite a lot of selections. '61, in '60 and '61, there were a lot of selections made, 5 million acres, and 64 and a half million acres in '61.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Yeah.

Martha:
I think there's a record of selections in [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Yeah. There is. And I've been through that. And that was very useful to me [INAUDIBLE]. But I was curious. There wasn't any mention there of why starting in '62 the selection totals cut back a very great deal. In '62, there was only perhaps 1 and a half million acres as opposed to 4 and a half million acres the year before. Why did the selection process slow down?

Martha:
Somewhere in some other material that [INAUDIBLE] I'm sure, we had selected the land, which was in the realm, areas that we knew to be valuable for resources.

Interviewer:
Which areas were?

Martha:
There were some areas, a few areas that [INAUDIBLE]. And it was the feeling that we needed resources. And at that time, you can't believe how desperately poor the state was.

Interviewer:
I'm sure getting an impression of it from speaking to people.

Martha:
Just nobody can realize how desperately poor it was until 1969. And the oil sale that fall.

Interviewer:
When I came to the state in '72, most of that $900 million had been spent already. And people thought they were poor then. But I imagine 1959 was a whole different thing.

Martha:
And we recycled everything. We went out and got things for the-- you said the office, that it just wasn't in the budget. Everyone did it, I'm sure. [INAUDIBLE]. And one time-- [INAUDIBLE] and picked up the year annual budget from the state. [INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
I spoke to Tom Marshal on Monday. And he was telling me about going over to the base to buy surplus pencils and things like that to save money.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Yeah, I think so. So you feel that the cutback in the selection process starting in '62 was mainly in question of mostly the known lands with resource values that had already been selected.

Martha:
Yes, resources and various types.

Interviewer:
Uh-huh. And what was the emphasis there when those much earlier selections were being made? I realized that was before you came here. But what known resources were being selected for?

Martha:
I think it was [INAUDIBLE]. There was [INAUDIBLE] people used resource value that would be money for the state [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
When you say resource value, what resources were--

Martha:
Mineral, agricultural natural resource [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Now, I'm trying to get an idea of how the actual selections we're decided upon. Who say when you first came while Rosco Bell was still director, how were the decisions made, which plans were going to be selected?

Martha:
Well, let's see if I can think of something here.

Interviewer:
Now, I realize--

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. This isn't really you?

Interviewer:
No, no. I was just saying I realize that you're more familiar with them. And I've never been able to put it together. But I did really spend a lot of time going through there looking for references like that. So I was hopeful that I could jog your memory for things that weren't--

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. Here's one place where we asked for land [INAUDIBLE] who were interested in lands [INAUDIBLE]. Now, this is just [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
I found going through that's a wonderful record of when specific selections were made for the state, for instance if there was a selection of x number of archers for such and such a purpose, in the Susitna Valley say or the Western part of the Matanuska Valley or something like that. But there isn't a lot of reference, for instance, to what selection policy what at the time, or who the people were who were operating, who were discussing those things. I thought perhaps you might have reference, you might have recollections that the second week of every month certain people would get together for a conference or something like that. To discuss which selections needed to be made.

Martha:
I know they got together. [INAUDIBLE] discussion among the for instance, Mr. Bell the heads of the different departments. But I got them to-- in on them, although I knew what the grounds of our selection was. Now, this here, state selection practice confirmed by ELM, [INAUDIBLE] unappropriated land, the general area.

Interviewer:
That's the blanket selection policy.

Martha:
I don't know. I went back. And on this selection day, [INAUDIBLE] for someone before I left. And [INAUDIBLE]. And I went back and dug out a terrific amount of information on selections, how selections were made and various things.

Interviewer:
[INAUDIBLE]. Have you met [INAUDIBLE]?

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
[INAUDIBLE]. I came across most of the material that she left behind, I believe.

Martha:
I saw it. I could tell you [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
There were some. There were, for instance, some old speeches by Roscoe Bell things like that in the materials that she had.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. They couldn't seem to realize that policies on which land was selected was [INAUDIBLE] the different things. You have [INAUDIBLE]. I can't remember what year. And I think [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
For selections?

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
You know something? Let me-- do you know approximately when that publication came out?

Martha:
Probably [INAUDIBLE]. It was a [INAUDIBLE]. And then you had [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
You said it was originally printed in what channel?

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Oh, I didn't know that.

Martha:
It was the [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Yeah, I've seen copies of that, but I didn't know that's what became the Alaska Magazine.

Martha:
I don't recall [INAUDIBLE] material. [INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Well, I will certainly take a look there and see what kind of stuff is there.

Martha:
And [INAUDIBLE]. That was [INAUDIBLE] to send out for public information.

Interviewer:
Do you remember what that article in the News Miner was called?

Martha:
No, I don't. But I can go back to my records and--

Interviewer:
So you have a lot of materials at home.

Martha:
I have materials. They were my personal materials. Like, about [INAUDIBLE]. It's kind of nice [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I would imagine so.

Martha:
No, I have nothing at home that would-- unless its a duplicate this kind of thing. Because I realize the significance that needed to be here. And [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
I was just interested that you had some of these things at home because I think some of that stuff may have been pitched. If Bob [INAUDIBLE]. I'm more annoyed at Bob that he didn't mention this [INAUDIBLE].

Martha:
Well, he might have thought, well, that's Martha's. [INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Yeah, if you don't have any objections to my going through that, I'll try to leave it in the order that you have it so when you go back out--

Martha:
It's ready for numbering.

Interviewer:
I'll be very careful. OK.

Martha:
And I think I [INAUDIBLE] with the rough draft, [INAUDIBLE] come out [INAUDIBLE] here and there and everywhere [INAUDIBLE] mostly in the reproduction.

Interviewer:
OK, I'll be careful. I won't disrupt any of it.

Martha:
And [INAUDIBLE] at the time, [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
When we were talking a moment ago about the priorities on selections for parks and people use and resources that might provide revenues, that's what I was trying to get at when I asked you about who the people who are getting together and actually choosing which selections were going to be made. I was trying to get an idea of who some of the people were who made the suggestions about which lands had mineral values or which lands had agricultural values.

Martha:
Now, some of those names you would have to... Joe Keenan would have. I know Roscoe dealt with that because he had many things. And because he had a sense of history that--

Interviewer:
Roscoe did. Let me go over this list. This might be helpful to me. I tried-- this is a list of people who I have either interviewed or will interview. And maybe you can remember if there are any people who I should speak to that aren't on this list. You're the first person on the list. Pedro Denton.

Martha:
Yes, I don't remember what year Pedro came he was here a number of years.

Interviewer:
Yeah. And I've already spoken with Tom Marshal.

Martha:
Yeah, Tom was here. Then he went to the Division of Lands.

Interviewer:
And I spoke with Raleigh [INAUDIBLE], and [INAUDIBLE] Tomorrow I'm going to speak with Mike Smith who came on towards the end.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. And that was when [INAUDIBLE] the elaborate plan and all of that because they have money to spend.

Interviewer:
Yeah, yeah. Things changed a lot. I know that.

Martha:
Well, [INAUDIBLE]. You can't imagine how it changed.

Interviewer:
Yeah, I was working for the state legislature in '75. And I had a sense for how the procreation process was changing at that point because they knew the oil money was coming. And they spent it before they actually had it.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE] gone into the [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Yeah. And the first thing I did was on the project was go through reports of the land lines pretty extensively. I took a lot of notes on-- I spent a lot of time with that.

Martha:
I guess you think it's funny. I spent a lot of time rousing these things. But I don't. I've got [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Oh, you have a set of those too?

Martha:
Well, I was the editor for many years.

Interviewer:
Yeah. I didn't really understand the pride and authorship. Ken Hallback I've been trying to get in touch with. Ted Smith, Herb Lang.

Martha:
Tell, Herb [INAUDIBLE]. He was very-- I don't remember [INAUDIBLE] this time I do not remember whether he was in [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Well, I spoke with him on the phone. And he said that he did participate in this selection. So I'm going to get together with him on Wednesday to discuss it.

Martha:
The oil companies give Tom Marshall the credit for the North Slope selection.

Interviewer:
Who do you credit for the North Slope selections?

Martha:
Well, that was made before I came here. But I know the oil companies.

Interviewer:
That's an interesting question. It wasn't filed until after you came. It wasn't filed until January of '64.

Martha:
I can trace it back. I've got it somewhere [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Because it was filed with the BLM in January of '64. But Tom told me when I spoke to him that the actual selection was identified sometime in early '62 and stuck in a drawer. So that was before you came. He said the end of '61 or the beginning of '62, but that it wasn't filed until January of '64. Do you know why it was filed at that time?

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Because obviously, it was sitting in a drawer for a couple of years.

Martha:
I didn't finish [INAUDIBLE]. Another thing that the state realized very much was the fact that the state was poor. You have no idea how poor. And the faster and the more selections we made the more the state was going to have to put out on roads and that type of thing. [INAUDIBLE] federal land until we got TA. I believe it was TA. But we didn't want that responsibility, which was a major thing the budget of the state like it was.

Interviewer:
Let me finish going through this list and see if you have any other suggestions. Joe Keenan, Chuck Herbert, Larry Dutton, Phil Holsworth. Last night, I had a conversation with Phil Holsworth.

Martha:
Oh, yes. Phil's special.

Interviewer:
Tom Kelly, John Fryeburg. He, unfortunately, is no longer in the state.

Martha:
Oh, he's at-- John Fryeburg is... was up at Talkeetna.

Interviewer:
Yeah. Yeah, that's what Bob told me. He's moved since back to California, unfortunately.

Martha:
Oh, has he? Oh, I didn't know that.

Interviewer:
John Salit, Howard Gray, Sal DeLeonardis, Joe Lawler, Mike Leech, Jim Williams, and then some Fish and Game people who may have made suggestions.

Martha:
Dale Tubbs?

Interviewer:
Dale Tubbs.

Martha:
Dale was here when I came here. [INAUDIBLE]. He was forestry to start with. But at that time, people [INAUDIBLE] for different sections. That's probably the correct word. We're all very close. And we're a very small group. And everybody was pretty much in the know about it all.

Interviewer:
Do you know what he's doing, Dale Tubbs?

Martha:
He's in business for himself.

Interviewer:
Do you know the name of the business, or--

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. I don't remember. He does [INAUDIBLE]. And they all were started in forestry. And then [INAUDIBLE] administration [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Was he with the Division of Lands for a long time?

Martha:
Yeah. Here's the lineup, functional operational chart [INAUDIBLE]. Somewhere in some of these.

Interviewer:
Unfortunately, they didn't continue to put that in every annual report. So it's sometimes a difficult chain to follow how the administrative changes were made over the years. But like I said, they've been pretty stable for a long time until the money started coming in.

Martha:
The land selection objective of the division is to acquire all the lands, which are currently or potentially valuable to the state under its various selection authority. But then [INAUDIBLE] to those lands given to the state. [INAUDIBLE] to the state. To select those lands, the principles governing land selections are as follows. OK. Now here's some right there. Now that's probably minimal. But anyways.

Interviewer:
I'm afraid that you feel that I haven't taken advantage of the work you've done. I really have spent a lot of time with this.

Martha:
No. I know [INAUDIBLE]. I refer to them. This is my [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
This must have been your baby when you were working on it. It must have been a lot of effort. You were the editor for the annual reports too?

Martha:
No. 1967 was the only [INAUDIBLE] I threw up my hands because they didn't take anybody off the counter to help out. I was pretty unhappy about it.

Interviewer:
So who was editing the annual reports?

Martha:
I really don't know. I think it was kind of a [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
OK.

Martha:
And then later on, [INAUDIBLE] one time [INAUDIBLE] pulled it together. I'm not sure, maybe Chuck [INAUDIBLE]. '67 was the only one. But I handled it. Because when you're dealing with public its different you really [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Yeah. Yeah, I'm sure that's true.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. I think you may find [INAUDIBLE] more than that, [INAUDIBLE] the selections.

Interviewer:
Yeah, I really spent a lot of time going through these publications looking for selections material. And what I'm trying to do with the interviews is flush out that material, see what else I can resurrect from them.

Martha:
Well, [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Yeah. I had seen that before. So I had already taken notes on that.

Martha:
What is in this notebook here?

Interviewer:
I imagine this is the person that you were referring to, that you helped out towards the end. That's materials that [INAUDIBLE] put together. And I'm not sure exactly what the nature of her project was.

Martha:
Here's something. Here's Roscoe's speech of September 26, 1960 [INAUDIBLE] selections. I think you'll find that very valuable. That's one of the things [INAUDIBLE]. I know she was completely floored that there was this much. [INAUDIBLE] and unwritten plan behind the land selection. She was really quite floored.

Interviewer:
Unfortunately, she didn't do-- she didn't accomplish very much. So it's hard for me to follow her trail because she didn't write down very much.

Martha:
I see.

Interviewer:
[INAUDIBLE]

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. And we were very fortunate. We [INAUDIBLE] very knowledgeable in the land field, very knowledgeable in Alaska. Roscoe Bell had big advantages. In 1955, Roscoe Bell was up here a year on assignment working for BLM.

Interviewer:
Roscoe Bell for the BLM.

Martha:
He was with BLM. I think it was 1955.

Interviewer:
And he did a resource report on Alaska.

Martha:
And there were several booklets on it. I used it from time to time. And I believe there's his own personal copy in the library was all because the state was not in operation at the time [INAUDIBLE]. And then you see he came back as the director. Beautiful background.

Interviewer:
After he did that report to the BLM he went back.

Martha:
'55.

Interviewer:
He went back outise for a while and came back.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Uh-huh.

Martha:
And then he was back [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
So he came back though shortly after statehood.

Martha:
Yes.

Interviewer:
That publication--

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
This BLM publication that you're referring to, the resource reports that Roscoe Bell did. At one point, did the state have copies of that?

Martha:
Well, Roscoe had his copies.

Interviewer:
I see. He may have taken that with him when he left for Wisconsin.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. They were available. And it might be you'll find them somewhere in the BLM records.

Interviewer:
Yeah. Yeah. That's what I was thinking. I was just trying to get an idea if these might exist somewhere around here. Countless materials are in the Alaska Resource Library over here in the new federal building. I don't think I can find it over there. This is really very useful to me when you refer to some of these old publications that I haven't heard referenced before. I think you're probably the only person who remembers those.

Martha:
Well, [INAUDIBLE] to mention that I was delving information from everybody. But it wasn't in the really highly specialized [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Yeah. Yeah. I had--

Martha:
Staff notes might contain references if you can find some of those.

Interviewer:
Now, when you say staff notes, I'm not sure what you're referring to.

Martha:
It was brought out in my time [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
So it was just like a memo that was circulated among--

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Ah.

Martha:
Sorry, minutes of the staff meeting were circulated around.

Interviewer:
And when was that done?

Martha:
Well, now, after all, 14 years and five years is 19 years.

Interviewer:
Just a vague idea. That was done when you were--

Martha:
Many years.

Interviewer:
Was that a policy under Roscoe?

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] regulations. [INAUDIBLE] throughout the state. In this democratic way the division utilizes [INAUDIBLE] tailored for Alaska conditions. [INAUDIBLE] selection [INAUDIBLE] selections.

And the realization that errors in judgement [INAUDIBLE] for years and years to come. [INAUDIBLE] selections must be [INAUDIBLE] for future [INAUDIBLE] in the state. There must be lands for parks and [INAUDIBLE], lands for homesteading, lands for commercial investors, lands for homes, lands for grazing, lands for private recreation, lands for commercial recreation, lands valuable for surface and subsurface resources, lands for continual revenue [INAUDIBLE] university for schools, [INAUDIBLE], lands for future development, and lands to grow on. Caution must be exercised to assure that no waste land is possible to be selected because the general grant selections must contain not less than 5,760 acres, or nine sections. So currently, [INAUDIBLE].

Now this is a-- I didn't realize what I was reading from. [INAUDIBLE]. April '63, [INAUDIBLE] conservation news. [INAUDIBLE] some problems. [INAUDIBLE] more field investigations to determine [INAUDIBLE] for selection [INAUDIBLE]. And then it goes on, land [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
I will go back and reread that. Now, the earliest reference that I found in land lines to problems with land selections as far as protests as far as native groups was in January of '63 when the village of [INAUDIBLE], village council there came to the state land selections in that area. And I was wondering if you could remember any other early cases where there were objections.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
In July of 1963 it was the Caribou Creek Conference.

Martha:
Yes. Thanks to land lines, it [INAUDIBLE] because Bob was pulling his hair trying to find out something about the Caribou Creek.

Interviewer:
He started after that '64, something like that.

Martha:
And I dug it out.

Interviewer:
Do you remember anything about-- the Caribou Creek Conference was to resolve the conflicts over land selection policy and procedures between the BLM and the state. And I gathered that although there was a spirit of cooperation between BLM and Division of Lands, that I think unavoidably there were some conflicts with how the process was being carried out. Do you remember anything about that conflict, [INAUDIBLE] about that conflict, specific issues that were being--

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE] as some of the others. I remember-- and I think Roscoe had worked for many years for the BLM. I don't know [INAUDIBLE]. And [INAUDIBLE]. And our land records for [INAUDIBLE] meant much [INAUDIBLE] BLM [INAUDIBLE]. And I don't know. [INAUDIBLE]. But BLM is always has always been a little reluctant to turn loose of land.

Interviewer:
Yeah.

Martha:
And the state had a terrific grant. They'd got a larger grant than anything else, than any other state ever got because most of them got were sections in the Western country. But nobody realized that Alaska was just getting into the business of being a state 50 years late. And they had not had the money Had not had the federal support that the other states have had. Arizona, [INAUDIBLE] brought in the union [INAUDIBLE]. But anyway, Alaska [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
I had a summer job last summer where I was doing research Into land title some of it going back nearly a quarter of a century and it was apparent how unorganized much of the land title records were in the state. So I realized that when statehood came around in a lot of ways Alaska was sort of backward.

Martha:
Well, [INAUDIBLE] well, but other states had got [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
I think that was probably in general attitudes with Alaska down in the lower 48 it was the frozen frontier.

Martha:
Yeah. Still, people have that idea [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
It's very true. So you have no specific recollection about why the state decided to file the North Slope selection in January of '64 when [INAUDIBLE]. Because there's a reference in the Land lines that the selection was filed in January of '64. But I didn't find out until I spoke to some of the people I've interviewed that the selection was identified for advancement. Phil Holsworth, when I spoke to him, couldn't believe that the selection [INAUDIBLE] in '64 because he recalled how much earlier it had been worked on.

Martha:
Well, [INAUDIBLE] selection. It would have been [INAUDIBLE] basis. But I think I have some old [INAUDIBLE] in Alaska that have a need for [INAUDIBLE] and [INAUDIBLE] selection. Some of them were held because of that. [INAUDIBLE]. Now, I'm not saying it is. But it's [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Close the window so we don't have the competition from all the noise.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Excuse me?

Martha:
I said, now you're getting [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
I think they're redoing the roof out there. So I suspect they'll be there for a while.

Martha:
Yeah, they're redoing it. [INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Yeah, I think maybe they're--

Martha:
They're not ready for that yet.

Interviewer:
I think they're cleaning it up before they start tarring. In 1966-- now, in '62 through '65, there were smaller selections then there had been earlier. But it was still an ongoing selection that ranged every year between, say, 800,000 acres and about 2 million acres. In '66, all the sudden there was another huge cutback. And that year, I think they only took, selected about 350,000 acres. Almost all these statistics I've gotten out of your work. I'm very much appreciative of that.

Martha:
Well, thank you.

Interviewer:
I didn't have to go through all the old selection applications and start totalling them up.

Martha:
Are they still available?

Interviewer:
Well, a lot of that is over in Bob Frost's office.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE] he's still there.

Interviewer:
[INAUDIBLE] over there. So do you have any recollection of why, at the end of '66, in December was the first Secretary Udall's land freezes? But that wasn't until December. And for some reason, during the entire year in 1966 there were very few selections. Do you remember anything specific that happened in that time, why they would have cut back so much?

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
No, I really looked carefully at the land lines.

Martha:
And the annual report?

Interviewer:
Yeah, yeah. They give the summary statistics, but they don't say why the selection was cut back that much.

Martha:
Well, [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
With any of these questions that I'm asking you, if you-- I realize you worked for the division for a lot of years. But do you have any recollections of people who might have been in a position to know the answers to these questions, even if they're questions you don't the answer to? Your suggestions would be a big help for me in my future interviews.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE] other people. But I don't know which ones. I'll think of somebody. Neil Wakefield was here. Of course, he was involved with tide lands. Kirk Stanley, Kirk Stanley was in tide lands officer.

Interviewer:
That Neil Wakefield, I haven't come across that name before. I've been trying to get in touch with--

Martha:
He's an appraiser in town. Oh, back to the Caribou Creek, that was, I believe, the name of the executive car on the railroad that Roscoe and some of the Washington and BLM key personnel and local personnel. Roscoe [INAUDIBLE] people went to Fairbanks and back on that car. They said it was [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
I thought that was interesting that they cloistered themselves in there.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Yeah, I got the impression that the selection process. We're speed up after that conference.

Martha:
Now, you have asked about '66.

Interviewer:
Yeah, who would have been--

Martha:
I might-- I don't know that I can pin point anything or not. There might be something in one of Roscoe's messages or something like that. That could--

Interviewer:
That's going to be a big help when I get that stuff from [INAUDIBLE].

Martha:
Now, Roscoe was here until late '67.

Interviewer:
Yeah. Mm-hm. But Roscoe probably would have been responsible for that decision about how many acres were going to be selected in 1966.

Martha:
Well, [INAUDIBLE] worked very closely together. Here some things from the annual report that I [INAUDIBLE]. This was from the [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
In those first few years that you were working for the Division of Lands, do you remember any of the personnel who were working with the agricultural and minerals, hard rock minerals, and petroleum, and gas who might have been making suggestions to John Fryeburg or Roscoe Bell or wherever about which lands were valuable for selection?

Martha:
Well, I'm sure there's collaboration, the division of Lands and Minerals, as well as the division of agriculture i'm sure. And I don't know that [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Yeah, I get the impression from speaking to people that there was that kind of cooperation. That's what I'm trying to get-- see if there are any people who are missing from my list, any names of people that you remember--

Martha:
I don't know those as much as I-- with the people in the division because I didn't have occasion to work with them. [INAUDIBLE] somewhere in the annual report, the landlines, or some of these, that it will be part of the reason why '66.

Interviewer:
So yeah. I will go back and take another look at that.

Martha:
Well, there may not be.

Interviewer:
In December of '66 Wally Hickel became governor, do you remember that there were any particular changes in how selections were going about at that time because of the change? Roscoe Bell and Phil Holdsworth still stayed on for a while after that.

Martha:
They stayed on for a while.

Interviewer:
Do you recall that when--

Martha:
Let's see-- when did you say Hickel was--

Interviewer:
He became governor in December of '66. And Holsworth didn't retire until the end of '67.

Martha:
That's in Landlines. Wally Hickel replaced Phil Holsworth Roscoe turned in his resignation.

Interviewer:
But you don't have any recollections?

Martha:
That's when Tom Kelly was appointed.

Interviewer:
Yeah, yeah. I've having trouble getting in touch with him. You don't have any recollection that things changed particularly when Hickel became governor because your immediate superiors, Roscoe Bell and Holsworth were still--

Martha:
Everything was pretty well organized. And I knew something was completely new, like the

Division of Lands was to start with. You've got to have a little bit of trial and error, shall I say. And it was pretty well ongoing. [INAUDIBLE]. And I have understood from many that [INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Why did he decide to go? Do you know?

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Because today, it's not standard practice when a commissioner leaves for all the division directors to resign.

Martha:
Well, I [INAUDIBLE] very good [INAUDIBLE] with him. And I didn't get into details. [INAUDIBLE]. I think because his last message made--

Interviewer:
Yeah, he makes some reference to feeling that the new commissioner should have the opportunity to choose whoever he wants. But in December of '68 was the second line freeze by Secretary Udall. And that's was the one that most people think of when they think about the land freeze.

Do you remember anything? And there are references in the landlines for that, and also in the annual report. But do you recall anything in particular about that day that sticks our in your memory as the way that influenced? Actually, by that time, the state wasn't making very many selections. After there were a large block of selections right at that time, December of '68 to January '69 because of the expiration, States right to choose federal minieral leases, just make those selections.

Martha:
That had to be made. I think that's mentioned in landlines. [INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Immediately before that, and, of course, for several years after that, there were very few selections.

Martha:
So much of the area was frozen.

Interviewer:
Yeah. Yeah. In about that time, had you been to this building in [INAUDIBLE]? Now, there is a reference in there--

Martha:
There's a reference in there when we moved into the new building. And there is a reference in there that tells-- I think its probably when we moved that [INAUDIBLE] started out. And then it went to 6th and C... 6th and B.

Interviewer:
I was just wondering when you did move in-- when you did move in here, how are the offices set up? Where was your office located?

Martha:
It was downstairs.

Interviewer:
Ah one flight down in the basement. OK. And where was Roscoe Bell's office?

Martha:
On the top floor. At the park end of the building.

Interviewer:
Over there. Maybe it's where [INAUDIBLE].

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
And people who worked with selections then-- of course, they've changed several times-- were their offices located near Rosco's office, or--

Martha:
I don't know. [INAUDIBLE] just where all the offices were located. I don't think there's anything that would show it. I doubt it.

Interviewer:
I was just wondering.

Martha:
But selections were on the second floor, and lands were on the second floor.

Interviewer:
[INAUDIBLE]

Martha:
Because they were shifting around.

Interviewer:
That goes on here a lot, they just....

Martha:
Yeah, [INAUDIBLE] pretty much open area [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
And who changed that? Who put up the partition?

Martha:
Tom Kelly. At least I think that's who. But it wasn't until-- I didn't [INAUDIBLE]. [INAUDIBLE] several years before I retired, which gave me an opportunity to [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
So you worked at this floor.

Martha:
Yes, second floor.

Interviewer:
In December of '68 and January of '69, part of the reason that I was asking you about how the offices were set up at that time is that if you had been located, say, around Rosco's office, or around land selection's office, you might have seen what was going on at that time. Because among our references of the landlines, I'm led to believe the selections, there were large selections made at that time on the North Slope and on the Alaskan peninsula around Bristol Bay, and also in the Copper river basin

Those selections were made, I believe, in three weeks, that they were--

Martha:
Oh, now that was--

Interviewer:
December of '68 and January of '69. Those were-- I believe they were all--

Martha:
I believe the landlines say, mention the freeze.

Interviewer:
The Udall freeze.

Martha:
Yeah.

Interviewer:
Yeah, that happened at the same time. But one is led to believe by what it says in landline-- that's interesting. It doesn't say that in landlines. It doesn't say that at all.

Martha:
So you couldn't say that. But I really think that that was probably what happened. Then there was a huge selection.

Interviewer:
There was another large selection in '72.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. Jen [INAUDIBLE] would have the key to that. And I don't remember-- of course, the [INAUDIBLE] had to be a lot of factors involved in that. And I remember the large selection was then and there was one later.

Interviewer:
There was a large selection in '72 when I think the people who were making that selection, probably Chuck Herbert thought that that was going to end the selection process because 77 million acres were selected at that point. It didn't work out that way.

Martha:
No, it didn't work out that way. And then--

Interviewer:
And that was clearly [INAUDIBLE] selection.

Martha:
Well, it was one of those necessary things.

Interviewer:
It was made a month after ANCSA was passed.

Martha:
It was one of those very necessary things. At some point, there was-- I don't know what. [INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Because the state board sued. And then there that [INAUDIBLE] court settlement in September of '72 about which lands the state was going to keep its selection of and which it would relinquish.

Martha:
I think [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Who was it in January of '74-- actually, it would have been in August of '72. Who was it that would have negotiated with the people from the Department of Interior on those relinquishments? Which selection was going to be kept in that large--

Martha:
I suppose it would have been Chuck Herbert, Joe Keenan. Wait a minute, was Chuck ever here at that time?

Interviewer:
Yeah.

Martha:
When did Kelly go?

Interviewer:
He probably resigned--

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE] landline.

Interviewer:
Yeah, he probably resigned in 19-- it should have been the end of 1969.

Martha:
That soon?

Interviewer:
Yeah, because the Egan administration started in December of '69.

Martha:
Wait a minute. I thought Sal DeLeonardis was with us [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
December of '69 or December of '70. In any case though, Kelly was already out and it was Chuck Herbert when the negotiations were ongoing with BLM. It was December of '70 I'm sorry, when Kelly resigned.

Martha:
I don't think [INAUDIBLE] longer than that. He was on fall of '67 [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Is there anything that particularly sticks out in your memory about changes that happened in the division when the Egan administration came back and Chuck Herbert became commissioner?

Martha:
Well, I was in a section that, basically, it didn't change. And [INAUDIBLE] our organization didn't change as they come. Most of the time, they're [INAUDIBLE] and the small guy just goes on doing the job he was doing.

Interviewer:
[INAUDIBLE]

Martha:
I don't. I can't remember about [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Because at the end of '74 when the Hammond administration came in, I get the impression that the whole Department of Natural Resources was shook up pretty much. And that's when Mike Smith started as Division Director.

Martha:
That's true. That's true.

Interviewer:
What do you remember about that when Mike Smith started?

Martha:
Let me think.

Interviewer:
I mean, I get the impression that there was a fair amount of hard feeling among some of the older employees here about the way things changed.

Martha:
Well, he wasn't very tactical about the things he did. That makes a lot of difference somehow for a group [INAUDIBLE]. And [INAUDIBLE] there was some thing [INAUDIBLE] Why didn't I? Which I appreciated very much when I got ready to retire. I said, this is it. And [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
In the early years, when you first started working, were you the sole, the only person working for public information? Who else?

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE] Christy. She's [INAUDIBLE] office now.

Interviewer:
Now, wait. Let me get this down. So it's--

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Now, when was [INAUDIBLE]? When was she working--

Martha:
Well, you'd have to ask her when she came. I don't remember. And [INAUDIBLE] but I just don't remember. Dee Rigsby.

Interviewer:
Dee Rigsby. And she works with Bob [INAUDIBLE].

Martha:
Yes. She's worked in a number of places around the division.

Interviewer:
But she also started after you.

Martha:
And--

Interviewer:
Now, when you first started working you were a system information officer. Who were you working for?

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Aha. OK. And then--

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
And so did you succeed him as information officer or was there somebody else that you worked for after [INAUDIBLE]?

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. No, I don't think [INAUDIBLE]. Do you have [INAUDIBLE] on your list?

Interviewer:
No, I don't. Now, he was information officer at one point. You worked for him?

Martha:
Yeah.

Interviewer:
So he followed [INAUDIBLE] but this other person who's down in Seattle--

Martha:
Hold on. Let me think. I haven't thought of him in a long time. [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Al Porter followed this other person down to Seattle.

Martha:
I believe he did.

Interviewer:
And Al Porter is still here in town. Do you know what he does?

Martha:
I think he's retired. After all, [INAUDIBLE] Chuck [INAUDIBLE].

Interviewer:
Chuck Herbert?

Martha:
Yeah. And I don't know whether there's any place that there's a list of personnel. [INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Yeah, unfortunately [INAUDIBLE].

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE] we had a change [INAUDIBLE] in the information office has all the office [INAUDIBLE] because of the military people and all of that.

Interviewer:
Yeah, there's reference to that in the landlines, [INAUDIBLE] military people.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
I think it was in landlines. It was somewhere I know that [INAUDIBLE] in reference to that. So you remember that there was some hard feeling about Mike Smith when he started, but it didn't particularly affect you a lot. Do you have any recollection of how he-- did he change the personal who were responsible for making land selections?

Martha:
I don't remember if he did that or not. But everything that everybody-- some people go into a new job. And everything that was done before was all wrong, everything. And to me, well, I shouldn't express it.

Interviewer:
You can feel free to say whatever you want to. It's only going to help.

Martha:
It's an attempt to bolster their own inner insecurity by [INAUDIBLE] downgrading everything somebody else ahead of you did. Maybe that's poorly expressed.

Interviewer:
No, I get the idea.

Martha:
Anyway, that was that.

Interviewer:
After having [INAUDIBLE] started and Mike Smith started here, the D2 conflict was an ongoing thing that actually that started with ANCSA or even before that?

Martha:
Well, the state of that for the past many years before the Native Claims Act, the D2 provision. And many of us-- and I still do-- feel the congress after passing the Statehood Act pretty much ignored it passing the Native Claims Act. In other words, they backed down on their previous [INAUDIBLE]. Because at that time I think we had the oil sale.

Interviewer:
[INAUDIBLE]. You said that they didn't outlaw it.

Martha:
Well, they didn't--

Interviewer:
Were people afraid that they were going to repeal the provisions in the Statehood Act?

Martha:
Yeah. There was a lot of things in the Native Claims Act that almost did. And it was priority legislation. And as long as they let it spin, it seemed to me-- I studied the [INAUDIBLE]. I studied the Native Claims Act as well as the Statehood Act. Those were things that you just used routinely. They were just a part of your reference.

Interviewer:
Yeah, I imagine so. OK, that is the end of the list of events that happened that I have here that happened while you were still working for the Division of Lands. Other than [INAUDIBLE] and see if I can get that material that you put together. Do you have any other recollections of important things that were going on with land selections that you know about that I haven't touched on here?

Martha:
No, except I do want to emphasis the fact that in the early years, the people that were making the selections knew-- and this shows you from various publications here, [INAUDIBLE] material-- that they knew what they were selecting for.

Interviewer:
Yeah. I think you probably feel that Mike Smith was one of those people who didn't think that they knew what they were doing.

Martha:
Yeah. And him to do it without elaborate planning, we didn't have the money to do it. I Feel like the division, thanks to Roscoe Bell and a few other people, he took transferees, many transferees at BLM who were knowledgeable land people [INAUDIBLE]

Interviewer:
Well, unless you can think of something else that you'd like to say, I really appreciate your having come in.

Martha:
[INAUDIBLE]. Maybe I shouldn't have expressed a few [INAUDIBLE].

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