Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environment, Economics and Politics

Reader 1

Teresa Sabol Spezio

Reader 2

Marion Preest

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2018 Natalie R Knops


Mazama, Washington is a small community, with a population of 230 residents, nestled in the Methow Valley near the North Cascades mountain range. Mazama is home to delicate ecosystems, thriving wildlife, a river integral to salmon recovery, and a local economy that is largely dependent on outdoor recreation. Also home to Mazama is an environmental campaign, brought forth by community-wide resistance to industrial mining proposals in the valley. The campaign, called the Methow Headwaters Campaign, is advocating for the protection of 340,079 acres of federal land from mineral withdraws. The campaign mobilized following an exploratory drilling proposal by a Canadian industrial-scale mining company, Blue River Resources Ltd, to mine on Flagg Mountain—a mountain located less than two miles from the town of Mazama. Because of the Mining Act of 1872, Blue River Resources Ltd. can earn one-hundred-percent interest from the Flagg Mountain project, while the Mazama community—largely based on a local recreational economy—bears the social, environmental, and economic burdens brought with these mining operations. This thesis examines how natural resource governance has been shaped in the Methow Valley at various scales, ultimately resulting in the social contestation of extractive development in Mazama in the early 21st century. This thesis argues that the community-led campaign to withdraw land from mineral withdraws attempts to “re-scale” environmental governance through a democratizing shift in political and ecological control.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.