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Author Michael Makley visits Dangberg ranch

Author Michael J. Makley will discuss the research and writing of his book, Saving Lake Tahoe: An Environmental History of a National Treasure, at the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park on Saturday, May 17, in a free public presentation.

Makley has written five books on western history, including The Infamous King of the Comstock, which won Foreword magazine’s 2007 Silver Award for biography. Booklist called another of his books, A Short History of Lake Tahoe, “a polished gem,” commenting, “Makley’s work could serve as a blueprint for writing relevant and engaging local history.”

In Saving Lake Tahoe, Makley considers the lake’s history from the Washoe Indians who managed its resources for thousands of years to the relatively brief Euro-American history since the mid-nineteenth century. His presentation at the park will discuss aspects of this history.

“We’re glad to have Mike here to kick off this year’s Ferris Family Speaker Series,” said Park Curator Mark Jensen. “His books on western Nevada and the Tahoe region are well-researched and help us understand our history.”

Saving Lake Tahoe looks at the interaction through the years between human activities, including resource harvesting, settlements, tourism, and the impact of each on the region’s ecosystems. Utilizing primary sources and interviews with key figures, it recounts the battles surrounding the basin’s management and explains why reversing environmental deterioration and improving the lake water’s clarity remain elusive goals.

The free, hour-long, outdoor presentation begins at 10 am. Seating will be available, but visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs for greater comfort. Saving Lake Tahoe, published by the University of Nevada Press, will be available for purchase, with the author available to sign copies.

Other speakers in this year’s series are Samantha Sceziorka on May 31, speaking about her solo equestrian ride across Nevada; Holly-Walton Buchanan, author of Land of the Buckaroo: Historic Ranches of Western Nevada on June 28; Dick Davies talking about the history of boxing in Nevada on July 12; and a group of local artisans demonstrating techniques and equipment for fiber arts on July 26.

Former Nevada state treasurer Patty Cafferata and her daughter Elisa will talk about Patty’s mother Barbara Vucanovich on August 2; Kim Copel will present a Chautauqua of stagecoach driver Charlie Parkhurst on August 23; Dr. Anita Watson will portray Virginia City pioneer Mary McNair Mathews in a Chautauqua on September 6; historian Ronald James discusses his book on Virginia City on September 27; and Patty Cafferata returns on October 11 for a discussion of her book on Christmas in Nevada.

The park is located at 1450 Highway 88, about ¾ mile south of the Carson Valley Swim Center. The full schedule for the Ferris Family Speaker Series and other events at the park is at

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The Record Courier Updated Jun 4, 2014 10:34AM Published May 14, 2014 04:48PM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.