About the Project

This site and project were created by Jack Kredell, Christopher Lamb, and Devin Becker @ the CDIL over the course of two years (June 2020 - February 2022).

Storying Extinction: Responding to the Loss of North Idaho’s Mountain Caribou is a multidisciplinary digital humanities project that represents community response to the recent extirpation (2019) of southern mountain caribou from the South Selkirk mountains of North Idaho—the last caribou to inhabit the coterminous United States.

The local extinction served as the exigence for a GIS-based deep map, or spatial narrative, which documents the interaction of human and more-than-human communities in North Idaho through geolocated oral histories Debby Ackley describes seeing a caribou on her hike to Two Mouth Lakes
Debbie Ackley Encounter at Two Mouth Lakes
1 of 33 oral histories
of caribou encounters, game camera footage of species currently inhabiting former caribou habitat, and various historical documents about caribou existence in the South Selkirks.

What is a deep map?

A deep map is a multidimensional, interactive map that offers an alternative to traditional two and three-dimensional representations of space. Beyond portraying the physical geography of a region, a deep map broadens our understanding of geography itself—imagining space as a complex, open-ended web of storied interactions determined as much by geological and biological history as by imagination, memory, and desire.

Storying Extinction attempts to represent Idaho’s former mountain caribou habitat as a space constituted by human and more-than-human relationships, each of which are somehow linked to caribou extirpation. Together, the map’s oral histories, historical materials, nonfiction narratives, and trail camera footage document an environment no longer hospitable to mountain caribou, but which remains haunted by their presence.

Future Development

We’d like to acknowledge that this project is incomplete without the voices and perspectives of Indigenous communities whose lives are and have been inextricably intertwined with those of mountain caribou, and who have been instrumental in efforts to protect them. Our efforts to collect these perspectives continue, and we welcome any assistance in the process.

Storying Extinction is an ongoing and open-ended project. In our effort to recognize the process of extinction as an ongoing event extending into both the past and the future, the project will be kept open for contributions indefinitely. If you would like to share a story or other media related to Idaho mountain caribou, please email jkredell@uidaho.edu or chrstopherlmb@gmail.com.

Project Support

This project is supported by the University of Idaho Library via its Center for Digital Inquiry and Learning (CDIL). Ongoing preservation and hosting is managed by CDIL.

Many people and organizations contributed to and supported this project. Please see our acknowledgements page for a full list of contributors and supporters.

Technical Information

The website is built on a customized CollectionBuilder framework that uses an interactive Leaflet map as background and mechanism for viewing collection items and Tufte CSS to style its interpretive and informational content. These and other customizations can be viewed in the project’s Github repository.