Items by Michelle Nijhuis

The Wayward West
U.S. admits exposing nuclear workers to radiation; Gloria Flora speaks in Kalispell, Mont.; Yellowstone Wolf No. 9 "retires" from pack; Air Force sued over low-level training flights; rancher's road permit in limbo in Arrastra Wilderness, Arizona.
Hazel Wolf: She made it
Activist and inspiration Hazel Wolf dies at 101.
Battling over the bottom line
Environmentalists win more than they lose as the battle over the budget finally reaches a truce in Congress.
Nevada names
Helen Carlson's book, "Nevada Place Names," is a delightful dictionary that untangles the stories behind the state's place names.
Ninety years of the Antiquities Act
A time line gives high points in the history of the Antiquities Act, which since 1906 has been used to designate many national parks and monuments.
The secretary's must-do list for Western lands
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt has his eye on a half-dozen other BLM territories in the West that he is considering for greater protection before he leaves office.
Dudes on the dunes
A new sport called sandboarding is becoming popular in Park Service wilderness areas with dunes, and some worry that it is a form of recreation "not compatible with wilderness values."
Up in the air
An Earth First!-related group in Eugene, Ore., called Red Cloud Thunder, has published its fourth issue of a 20-page "zine called "Expletive deleted."
The Wayward West
Helen Chenoweth to wed Wayne Hage; Wash.'s Dawn Mining Co. can't use radioactive dirt to fill old uranium mine; Baca Ranch, N.M., to be sold to feds; a water block for Cyprus Amax mine in western Colo.; trophy home near Columbia River Gorge must be moved
Agency cheerleader
In his own words, BLM Manager John Singlaub talks about how to save Walker Lake by building partnerships with grassroots organizations like the Walker Lake Working Group.
Speaking from experience
In his own words, Mono Lake Committee staffer Gary Nelson compares the problems his group has successfully dealt with to the challenges facing the Walker Lake Working Group.
Troubled Oasis
In Nevada, Walker Lake is slowly disappearing, as local farmers, an Indian tribe and conservationists battle over the rights to the water that once filled the lake.
Can the Preble's mouse trap growth on Colorado's Front Range?
The tiny Preble's meadow jumping mouse, which was recently listed as threatened, prefers the same habitat as developers do, along Colorado's rapidly urbanizing Front Range.
The city mouse
Some facts about the threatened Preble's meadow jumping mouse are listed.
Slow and steady
Some facts about the endangered desert tortoise are listed.
The secretary speaks
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt explains why habitat conservation plans are a great tool for making the Endangered Species Act work.
An ESA cheat sheet
A glossary explains words and phrases associated with the Endangered Species Act.
A tiny owl with a big name
Interesting facts about the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl are listed.
Who's stopping sprawl?
An introduction to this special issue points out that city-dwellers' usual support for the Endangered Species Act can be severely tested when an endangered species is found in or near their own backyards.
Who loses when a city neighborhood goes upscale?
Longtime residents of Alberta Street and other neighborhoods in Northeast Portland, Ore., have survived poverty and drive-by shootings and now face a new challenge in the growing gentrification of the area.
Tragedy on the border
At least 200 young women have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez while on their way home from low-paying jobs at U.S.-owned factories on the Mexican side of the border.
'We were created to serve all'
Chief ranger Scot McElveen says local people should not receive preference in a natural resource owned equally by all citizens.
'It didn't need to be saved'
Longtime Death Valley resident Janice Allen believes the area is not helped by its designation as a national park.
So much land, so little money
Park enemies in Congress reduced the budget for the new Mojave National Preserve to one dollar - an extreme example of the way Congress often creates parks and monuments but is reluctant to provide any money to support them.
'By and large, they're heroes'
Death Valley Park Superintendent Dick Martin says the park rangers are heroes.
'They're just too rigid'
Longtime park volunteer Reuben Scolnik says the park officials are good people but too rigid.
'I'm really embarrassed'
Local resident Kathy Goss is disillusioned by the way environmentalists pushed the Desert Protection Act.
'Humans aren't that bad'
Local resident Jim Macey believes park status has actually harmed Death Valley.
'The more protection we have, the better'
Death Valley environmental specialist Dick Anderson defends the Desert Protection Act as necessary to save wild lands.
The last weird place
Eccentric desert rats and clean-cut park rangers sometimes meet in a culture clash over how to manage one of the hottest, driest and strangest places in North America - Death Valley National Park.