University of Oregon

Historic Preservation Program

Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School

Fisher Bottom Homestead


From August 31st to September 6th 2014, Field School held three week-long sessions at Fisher Bottoms—a Bureau of Land Management property located in Bonneville County in Eastern Idaho.

The BLM purchased the historic 431-acre Fisher Bottoms ranch in 2012. The property is being preserved for public use as a recreational area, valued for its scenic and historic landscape. Since Fisher Bottoms is a new federal acquisition, Field School participants will actively shape the future preservation strategy for the property. For a BLM video about Fisher Bottoms click here.

In 1901, Joseph and Temperance Fisher homesteaded their property on the South Fork Snake River. Their son Vardis Fisher went on to become a prominent writer of western fiction. He drew on his childhood experiences at the property in his influential publications, such Mountain Man and the Testament of Man series. His writing helped shape popular concepts about the west and its natural landscape, inspiring Robert Redford's  film Jeremiah Johnson, and the DC Comic Anthro. Vardis maintained a relationship with the property over his lifetime, and helped shape the historic material fabric of the site.

The Field School will focus on stabilizing and documenting historic log structures on the property. Major hands-on projects will include replacing log sills, and potentially re-roofing parts of some structures. Participants will have the opportunity to develop treatment recommendations following the Secretary of the Interior's Standards.  Instruction will be provided by Field School faculty, supplemented by visiting experts. 

An evening lecture series on theory and practice in historic preservation will be open to participants as well as members of the public. Speakers will include individuals with professional and academic experience. Specific names and dates will be finalized in Spring 2014.

On Wednesdays, an all-day field trip will take participants to other sites of historical interest in the vicinity. Fisher Bottoms is in close proximity to the Yellowstone  and Grand Tetons units of the National Park System, as well as the communities of Jackson Hole and Idaho falls.


2014 hosts and sponsors at the Fisher Bottoms site include the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Idaho State Historical Society, and the Idaho Heritage Trust. The Field School is administered at the University of Oregon.

General Information

The Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School curriculum is designed to attract participants from all walks of life from those with no experience in preservation, practicing cultural resource professionals, and undergraduate and graduate students. to novices with little background in the field but who possess a love for heritage and a desire to learn.  The University of Oregon's Historic Preservation Program developed this Field School to provide participants with the opportunity to experience preservation firsthand.

The field school is intended for anyone interested in working in a hands-on environment, to learn about preservation by doing it, and interested in seeing a spectacular part of the United States. The typical class varies in age, skill-background, and interest, but the common thread is always fun and learning. Many participants have used the field school to launch into historic preservation, and many graduates of the University of Oregon's program got their start at the Pacific Northwest Field School.

Incoming graduate students in the Historic Preservation MS Program are required to enroll for at least one session as part of their graduation requirements.


In the 1913 Government Land Office map above, Fisher Bottoms is south of the wide bend in the River

Travel and Accommodations

  • Location: Fisher Bottoms' approximate location is shown by this google map.
  • Driving: The site is close to a major Interstate (I-15) and participants can reach the general vicinity with their personal transportation. However, the site itself can only be reached by high-clearance 4WD vehicles. Private vehicles will be left at a lot on the property, and participants will be shuttled in. From the lot, the drive to the worksite and camping accommodations takes approximately 15 minutes.
  • Flying: Fisher Bottoms is a one hour drive from two airports.  To the east, the Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) in Wyoming has direct service to Newark, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, and other major cities (click here for flight schedules). To the west, the Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) has direct service to Salt Lake, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Oakland among other place ( click here for flight schedules). Participants who choose to fly can be met at these airports.
  • Camping:  Participants will camp at a Forest Service administrative campground on the Snake River at Swan Valley—fifteen minutes from Fisher Bottoms Homestead. Participants will sleep outdoors and must bring their own tents. A flush toilet is available at the nearby Conant Boat Ramp. Participants who might prefer to arrange their own lodging will find a range of options in Swan Valley. Participants who choose this option are solely responsible for the costs of alternative lodging and daily transportation to and from the official campground.
  • Food: Meals are included in the cost of attendance.

Session Dates and Themes

All sessions entail hands-on-work, documentation, and various preservation related activities—including field trips. Evening lectures will focus on the week's special theme, but can and will delve into other areas of preservation.

  • Session 1: Cultural Landscapes, August 31-September 6
  • Session 2: Preservation Technology, September 7-13
  • Session 3: Cultural Resource Management, September 14-20


Credit and Tuition

Field School participants can earn two (2) graduate or undergraduate level credits from the University of Oregon for each repeatable one-week session, grading is on a pass/no pass basis. Licensed architects can earn up to fifteen (15) Continuing Education credits for through the A.I.A.

  • Not for credit: $900
  • Two (2) undergraduate credits: $1100
  • Two (2) graduate credits:  $1250
  • A.I.A. continuing education credits: $1250 per session
  • Additional credit: $200 per director's approval

Tuition includes food, lodging, and transportation during each week-long session. Participants are responsible for arranging their own travel to and from the rendezvous site.



Click here for Summer 2014 online application (priority deadline May 1, 2014). 

Applications are currently being accepted for review. There is no application fee. Space is limited so priority will be given to applications received before May 1, 2014. Later applications will be reviewed or wait-listed on a space-available basis.


The Director's Student Scholarship is available, but not limited to, individuals planning a career in the preservation field, who without this funding assistance may not be able to attend the Field School.  The recipient must be taking the Field School session(s) for academic credit.  The award covers tuition for one field school week and additional travel expenses. The Scholarship application is included in the general application linked above.


Shannon BellShannon Sardell is the Director of the Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School, an adjunct Historic Preservation professor at the University of Oregon, and a consultant in historic architecture. She maintains a consulting practice that focuses on historic architecture with research interests that include preservation technologies and box construction in the Pacific Northwest. Shannon, a graduate from both the University of Oregon's Architecture and Historic Preservation program, currently teaches a field recordation, condition assessment, HABS/HAER, and Preservation Technology for the University of Oregon’s historic preservation program.


Don PetingDonald Peting, Emeritus Professor of Architecture and Historic Preservation Program, is the founder of the Preservation Field School. He occasionally teaches part time in such areas as architectural design, preservation technology, and historic structures. He is an historical architect and maintains a consulting practice that focuses on 19th and early 20th century architecture and his research interests include traditional building technologies, early powered mills, and seismic retro-fitting of historic structures. He has been a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome since 1978. In 2005, the National Council for Preservation Education honored his educational career with their James Marston Fitch lifetime achievement award.


Amy McCauleyAmy McCauley is the owner of Oculus Fine Carpentry, Inc., a window and door specialty business. She has been working in construction for the past 13 years in the Portland-Metro area, six of them devoted to developing Oculus. Her emphasis is in working with traditional tools and techniques; some of her notable projects include the Pioneer Courthouse, A.T. Smith House, Delaney-Edwards House, Virgil Crum House and the Gardener’s House at Shore Acres State Park.


Fred WaltersFred Walters is an award winning historical architect and architectural conservator in Cambridge, Idaho. He holds architecture licenses in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada. His work includes building condition assessment and evaluation of over 240 buildings, as well as design and construction services for a wide variety of preservation projects. Walters has been an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon, teaching courses in Preservation Technology and Condition Assessments. He has been an active member of the field school since 1999.


Donald HoukDonald Houk  Don Houk worked as a carpenter/builder and began with the Park Service at Olympic National Park in 1987 working on the Trail Crew. Don got involved with the backcountry structures in 1989, doing repairs and reroofing projects. He left the Park Service in 1993 to work for himself again full-time doing repair and remodel work. Don returned to the Park in 2003, and in 2006 became the official Backcountry Carpenter, at which point he started a preservation program to address the needs of the more than 30 structures in the backcountry of Olympic that are listed or are eligible to be listed on the National Register.


Murray Boatright Murray Boatright is a Preservationist working for the National Park Service. Based out of Channel Islands National Park, Murray is a member of a preservation crew also working on structures in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego. As a trail crew employee at North Cascades National Park, Murray began his career in historic preservation maintaining structures such as fire lookouts, mining cabins, and barns. Additionally, he spent a considerable amount of time working on many of the notable structures at Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. Murray lives in Ojai, CA with his wife and two children.


Sterling HoldorfSterling Holdorf is a Preservation Specialist for Channel Islands National Park and currently supervises a preservation crew that strives to preserve the unique collection of historic structures at Channel Islands National Park, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Cabrillo National Monument in Southern California.  Sterling began his career with the National Park Service in 1987 while working for the maintenance division at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP).   In 1998 he began working for RMNP’s preservation crew, focusing on the rehabilitation of the historic McGraw Ranch.  During his time at RMNP, he had the opportunity to work on preserving many of the Park’s 172 historic structures.  Sterling obtained a certificate in Historic Preservation from Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania and is a 2002 graduate of the Preservation and Skills Training program(PAST) administered by the National Park Service in Frederick Maryland.   He is currently serving as a mentor in the PAST program.  Sterling lives in Ventura California with his wife and two children.


Past faculty at the Field School have come from the U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Washington State Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, and the professional preservation community.



The Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School would not be possible without the continued support of federal, state, and local agencies. Collaborating sponsors for the 2014 Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School include:

  • University of Oregon
  • National Park Service
  • Idaho State Historical Society
  • Idaho Heritage Trust
  • Oregon Parks & Recreation Department
  • Oregon State Historic Preservation Office
  • Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission
  • Washington State Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation



Historic Preservation Program
School of Architecture & Allied Arts
5233 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-5233

Field School Director
Shannon M. Sardell, Adjunct Faculty

For more information