What can professional land managers gain by consulting with local communities? Scientific knowledge provides valuable insights into the causes of environmental change and the processes by which it occurs but often lacks a historical dimension. Recollections of local people can supplement both historical records and scientific understandings of cause and process to achieve a more comprehensive picture of change over time. However, the process of memory is tied to life experience and is highly selective. Any attempt to use oral accounts in constructing a picture of environmental change over time must also include an analysis of the process of memory itself. Drawing on oral histories with long term residents of the Tumut region of NSW, this paper explores the nature of local environmental knowledge and evaluates oral history as a source of information for understanding environmental history and the impact of changing patterns of land use.