Roger Butterbaugh 7.1.2019

Bio: Coordinator of the White Grass Heritage Project since inception in 2013, former White Grass seasonal caretaker 2011-2018, continuing volunteer for National Park Service. Descriptor: Ranch caretaker, the White Grass Heritage Project, documenting history through Share Your Story.

Roger’s Story: As resident caretaker at White Grass, I was exposed to the depth of the White Grass experience soon after my arrival (June 2011) as many former dudes and wranglers came through to revisit ‘their ranch.’ Many of the stories they shared detailed their growth from youth to adulthood, their experiences communing with their horses and the broader natural landscape, and how time spent at the ranch was life altering. As a retired marriage and family therapist, I found these stories powerful, heart warming, and insightful. Shortly thereafter, I committed myself to systematically collect these stories and archive the history of White Grass.

Share Your Story is one of the ways the White Grass Heritage Project, which I coordinate, works to collect and preserve the history of the ranch. Stories appropriate to submit/post include those from the dude ranch era, 1913-1985; when the ranch was unoccupied and deteriorating, 1985-2004; the rehabilitation phase, 2004-2016; and stories associated with the preservation training program started in 2014 and continues at the ranch.

As of this writing, the archive holds over 80 hours of recorded oral histories, 3,000 historical photos, numerous artifacts and documents, and videos some of which were created from original film shot at the ranch. Additionally, the Heritage Project wants to collect more ranch history particularly focused on pre 1945 and post late 1960’s. The Projects seeks photos, film/video from the ranch, artifacts and memorabilia, personal journals and more important stories. For more information, see Get Involved on the main menu of this web site.

We also realize that what happens today, is tomorrow’s history. Accordingly, we seek to collect materials, including those appropriate for Share Your Story, about current happenings at the ranch. An overall theme here is to document the value and usefulness in ‘repurposing’ White Grass as a historic training facility for government employees and those in the public sector including historians, contractors, students, volunteers. In other words, does White Grass continue to inspire and transform others as it engages a new generation to become skilled in preserving historical structures and their associated human activity? Early feedback from trainees says it does. As one Oral History workshop trainee wrote, “the instructors kept asking us why would a dude come to White Grass for a week and stay a full summer and return year after year?  After staying in one of the original log structures at the ranch for only a week (2014), I can’t explain it but I think I now know why!”

Want to learn more through stories? Read through the Share Your Stories already submitted and/or use the ‘Search Within Category’ tool to find specific individuals, topics and/or specific terms and dates.

As Cindy Galey Peck has said above, please consider sharing your White Grass thoughts and experiences via Share Your Story. The process is brief and straightforward. To start, click on the Share Your Story button and the form should appear.

The White Grass Heritage Project is in partnership with the Jackson Hole Historical Society, the Western Center for Historic Preservation and Grand Teton National Park.

To reach me directly, see Contact Us on the main menu.

Thank you.