The Washington Rural Heritage project recently went live with a new digital collection from the northeast corner of our state. The Colville National Forest Collection provides access to a sampling of the archival photos, maps, and documents held by the Heritage Department at Colville National Forest Headquarters in Stevens County.
Of particular note are the photos of fire lookouts that once dotted the mountaintops of the Kettle River and Selkirk Mountain Ranges. These photos have been geo-referenced and placed on a “Story Map” so that users can fly from peak to peak, getting a glimpse of the varied lookout tower styles as well as truly stunning panoramic photographs taken from the lookouts themselves—once important tools to the fire spotters that occupied the lookouts. Because most of these photos were produced by the U.S. Federal Government, they are in the public domain.
The collection represents a collaborative digitization project undertaken in 2014-2015 by the Colville National Forest and Libraries of Stevens County. According to Colville National Forest spokesman, Franklin Pemberton, “We love the idea of people having access to [the documents] – for research or for student projects. They capture the heritage of Northeast Washington before photos were widely available to average citizens.”
The Washington Rural Heritage project serves public and tribal libraries throughout Washington, as well as partnering organizations such as museums, local government, and schools. Headquartered at the Washington State Library (Office of the Secretary of State), the project is supported with Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding provided by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project’s 2015-2016 digitization grant cycle is currently accepting applications from eligible insitutions. To find out how your organization can participate in this statewide digitization initiative, please contact Digital Repository Librarian Evan Robb at firstname.lastname@example.org.