This oral history project was produced by the Birds of Prey NCA Partnership, working in close collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management, the Wild Lens Collective, and the Peregrine Fund’s Archives of Falconry. We will be featuring a series of 20 interviews conducted with key figures in the history of the Snake River canyon region. We’ll be releasing one of interview each week over the course of the next five month here on this podcast feed.
An Oral History of the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.
Episode Nine: Norm Nelson
Norm Nelson is the oldest son of Morley Nelson, who is widely considered to be the most influential figure in the establishment of a National Conservation Area in the snake river canyon. What many people don’t realize however, is the substantial role that Morley’s family played in working to get protected status for this unique area. While Morley was working his full time job as the region’s snow survey supervisor – a job that he held from the late 1940s through the early 1970s – it was often his kids – Norm, Tim, Tyler and Suzie – who were out in the field working to spread awareness about birds of prey. Norm became interested in both raptors and filmmaking at an early age – he was training eagles and shooting film footage for big time film productions by the time he was in high school.
While Morley was pulling strings behind the scenes to secure funding for documentaries about birds of prey in the Snake River canyon, it was often Norm and his younger brother Tyler who were responsible for the creative process behind these influential films.
We feel honored to have had the opportunity to interview Norm for this oral history series, and we hope that you enjoy his stories about a lifetime of work in the Snake River canyon as much as we did!