Our Mission & Values


Along with our students and collaborators, the PLHC is committed to an alternative collaborative structure for the 21st century based on shared authority, reciprocity, public engagement, and a non-hierarchical approach to knowledge production.

The PLHC believes that recovering histories of difference on public lands facilitates the preservation of cultural and natural resources, informs public dialogue, and is the basis for the development of shared public lands values. To promote justice and democracy, the PLHC reveals, tells, and disseminates complex histories of public lands in partnership with public lands agencies, communities, students, and the public.

The PLHC upholds its mission in every component of its work, whether we are operating in the field or in the classroom.


Useful Knowledge
Resource Stewardship

As a research unit in the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University, the PLHC's values reflect and transmit those of our institution, including:

Engaging External Partners and Interdisciplinary Collaborators

  • Creative partnerships with industry, philanthropy, and alumni
  • Collaborations with federal resource managers who rely on university partnerships to fulfill research, education, and management mandates
  • Interdisciplinary problem-solving for issues related to the natural and built environment

 Preparing History Students to Make Lasting Contributions to a Dynamic Society

  • Field-based courses that address critical resource issues and provide exposure to “citizen science” opportunities
  • Research conducted in response to dialogue with interdisciplinary, real-world partners

Connecting the Local to the Global

  •  Taking inspiration from our strategic Front Range location and proximity to an enormous array of natural resources and protected areas in the region
  • Bringing insights developed at our land grant institution to national and global needs
  • Using public education events to reach a wide audience that includes policy makers, citizens, scientists, resource managers, and advocates
  • Producing research with relevance to resource managers and others in analogous global settings