Bob Folkestad and Marj Folkestad Interview, January 22, 2021


Beth Hodder, Kjell Petersen



Download Interview (380.6 MB)

Download Transcript of Bob and Marj Folkestad Interview (241 KB)

Download Closed caption file for video (45 KB)


Bob Folkestad recalls how growing up in Montana, then visiting to hike, camp, and fish after his family moved, influenced his decision to work for the Forest Service after high school. He discusses applying for a fire lookout position in the summers while attending Seattle Pacific College. Folkestad describes working two summers on the Ashley Mountain Lookout from 1962-1963. He talks about taking his dog Tana with him, receiving supplies by mule train, cooking for himself, and eating a lot of Spam. He recalls the visitors he had including his parents, and young men from the Dominican Republic who were staying at a resort nearby and training for the priesthood. Folkstad notes that visiting with them influenced his decision to become a Christian missionary. He talks about the physical layout of the lookout, mentioning its size and the few outbuildings around it. He reminisces about accidentally calling in a fire that turned out to be moonlight glinting in the trees. Folkstad describes the fire traffic procedures for calling in smoke sightings and lightning strikes, emphasizing that being a lookout required constant surveillance to familiarize himself with the territory. He discusses working on the Castle Rock Lookout in the Cascade Range from 1964-1966, and then the Sand Mountain Lookout for part of the summer of 1967. Folkestad concludes by discussing his missionary work in Mozambique and South Africa, noting that being a lookout provided him with ample time to study the Bible.


Media is loading

Document Type

Oral History


Subjects: Ashley Mountain Lookout; Castle Rock Lookout; Sand Mountain Lookout; Flathead National Forest; Fire lookout; Fire fighting, Montana; Firefighting, Oregon; Wildlife; Christianity; Lightning strikes

Personal Names: Robert Folkestad; Marjorie Folkestad

Corporate Names: U.S. Forest Service; Seattle Pacific College

Geographical Names: Montana; Flathead National Forest; Oregon; Cascade Range; Mozambique; South Africa

Occupations: Fire lookouts; Missionaries

Titles: Holy Bible

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage

Montana; Oregon



Original Collection

Northwest Montana Lookout Association Oral History Project, OH 453, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 453-011

Media Type

Moving Image; Sound; Text

Digital Format

video/mp4; application/pdf; text/plain

Run Time

00:49:41 minutes

Local Filename

OH_453_011.mp4; OH_453_011.pdf;

Bob Folkestad and Marj Folkestad Interview, January 22, 2021