Jim Bertolini, Historian, Nevada State Historic Preservation Office

Proposal Type


  • Seeking General Feedback and Interest
Related Topics
  • Civic Engagement
  • Place
  • Preservation

Ranching is an endemic part of Nevada’s history that symbolizes both the culture of the region and its political controversies, from the Sagebrush Rebellion to Bunkerville. Operators of historic ranches both fear the government programs and the potential for oversight that may come with it, yet frequently rely on taxpayer subsidies to maintain their operations. As a result, the process of preserving significant farms and ranches in the state faces unique challenges relating to property rights, access to public land, and perceptions of the role of government. Using two recent projects as case studies, this session will explore the methodology of federal historic preservation programs in Nevada and how they can support historic agriculture.


Historic preservation is an interdisciplinary field that brings together historians, archaeologists, planners, architects, economic development specialists, business owners, elected officials, and enthusiasts. Using two recent projects on agriculture and ranching in Nevada, one along the upper Carson River in northwest Nevada, and one in Lincoln County, this roundtable will discuss the role of federal historic preservation programs such as the National Register of Historic Places in documenting and preserving historic agriculture in the Great Basin. The group will explore the perceptions and legal boundaries that govern these programs and how that affects their implementation. It will discuss the essential methods of documenting these ranches in a rural and libertarian environment that traditionally rejects federal programs. Finally, the group will discuss the practical skills and products necessary to ensure that rigorous scholarship is relevant to decision-makers in a position to preserve historic farms and ranches, from ranch owners to preservation professionals and public lands managers. The following questions will drive the discussion:

The roundtable panel and their role in the panel:

  • Chair – Dr. Leisl Carr-Childers, historian, University of Northern Iowa
  • Panelist 1 – Nicholas Pay, archaeologist, Bureau of Land Management
  • Panelist 2 – Anne Oliver, architectural historian, SWCA Environmental Consultants
  • Panelist 3 – Jim Bertolini, historian, Nevada State Historic Preservation Office

If you have a direct offer of assistance, sensitive criticism, or wish to pass along someone’s contact information confidentially, please get in contact directly: Jim Bertolini, [email protected]

If you have general ideas or feedback to share, please feel free to use the comments feature below.

All feedback and offers of assistance should be submitted by July 2, 2017.


1 comment
  1. Mike Dove says:

    I believe this topic will be of great interest to the membership for its focus on historic preservation within the host state of Nevada and for the diversity of skills and experiences represented by those on the panel. Though the discussion questions were omitted, the roundtable discussion appears well-conceived. I would attend this session!

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