Items by Hal Clifford

The Gear Biz
The West might still be the nation’s outdoor playground, but the Western companies that make outdoor recreation gear are finding greener pastures overseas
Reweaving the river
Local ranchers and farmers in southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley are working to restore the Alamosa River, site of the infamous Summitville mine cyanide spill
NEPA gets short shrift in the courts
A recent study by Defenders of Wildlife documents the Bush administration’s unprecedented rollback of the National Environmental Policy Act
“They want the workers to be invisible”
Former Leadville miner Bob Elder decries the exploitation of service workers who have to commute from Leadville to jobs in the resort counties. Jim Zoller, a former miner who now works as Leadville’s police chief, thinks that a lot of his town’s problems
In search of the Glory Days
Twenty years after its longtime mainstay, the Climax Molybdenum Mine, closed, Leadville, Colo., is still groping for a secure economy and a new identity.
Permanent user fees in the pipeline
The Bush administration wants to permanently install user fees for recreation on public lands, but opponents are speaking out.
Colorado oil shale gets a second look
Royal Dutch/Shell wants to take another crack at producing petroleum from oil shale in northwestern Colorado's Piceance Basin, but local towns such as Parachute are wary, remembering the last energy boom and bust in the region.
Can cows and grouse coexist on the range?
Colorado rancher Brad Phelps believes that cattle and sage grouse can live together, but biologists, environmentalists and other ranchers continue to argue over exactly what impact grazing has.
Chick-a-boom-boom at the lek
Male sage grouse gather at leks to dance in front of females in elaborate mating displays.
Last dance for the sage grouse?
Across the Interior West, as the sagebrush sea recedes under the environmental stress of human impacts, its emblematic bird, the sage grouse, is also in decline, and no one seems to know what to do about it.
Montana gets a crash course in methane
A brief moratorium on drilling is giving coalbed methane-rich Montana a chance to prepare for the coming boom in Gallatin County and the northern part of the Powder River Basin.
Mickey Steward, coordinator for the CoalBed MethaneCoordination Coalition
In her own words, Mickey Steward talks about seeking consensus on coalbed methane drilling in Wyoming.
Miles Keogh, Wyoming rancher
In his own words, rancher Miles Keogh talks about how he deals with the coalbed methane industry.
Patricia Clark, Wyoming rancher
In her own words, rancher Patricia Clark talks about coalbed methane drilling on her ranch.
Wyoming's powder keg
In Wyoming's Powder River Basin, the coming energy boom in coalbed methane gas has local ranchers and environmentalists worried.
Ski resorts pump up ecoterrorism defenses
In the wake of the arson at Vail two years ago, Western ski resorts have hired security staff to keep an eye out for ecoterrorism.
Drawing a line in the mud
In Colorado, The Nature Conservancy begins a battle against the exotic invader tamarisk, hoping to make the San Miguel River tamarisk-free before the plant takes over entirely.
Backyard power struggle
Some locals on southwestern Colorado are fighting an electric utility's plans to upgrade the power line that runs between Nucla and Telluride.
Ski town workers find homes in the hills
Unable to afford skyrocketing rents, a growing number of Telluride, Colo., workers live illegally on Forest Service land.
Telluride tackles ski town sprawl
The ski town of Telluride, Colo., is fighting a developer's plans to build up the Valley Floor, 857 acres of pasture and wetlands that are currently open space on the highway leading into town.
Fee fighters refuse to pay
Sun Valley, Idaho, resident Diana Fassino, is among the protesters who have gone to court over their refusal to pay recreation fees.
'We want the public lands to be in the backyard of the little guy'
Chris Wood, senior policy advisor to Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck, discusses the pros and cons of fee demo.
'I think recreation should be subsidized'
Former Inyo wilderness ranger Gary Guenther says that recreation should be subsidized as the extractive industries have always been.
'You can't sell a sunset'
In his own words, Scott Silver of Wild Wilderness denounces the fee demo program.
'Fee demo is not the full answer'
Inyo National Forest Supervisor Jeff Bailey says that fee demo is not the full answer to the forest's many needs.
Land of the fee
While cash-strapped land managers praise the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program, some recreationists and activists rail against it, and others point out that the program isn't producing as much money as was hoped for.
Trust in the Land
In the effort to preserve Western open space, land trusts take the lead.
Conservation group ropes in a working ranch
Staffer Jamie Williams talks about The Nature Conservancy's efforts to preserve land in Routt County, Colorado.
Rancher's new cash crop will be scenery
Ranchers fear the loss of their culture if they become tenants on land owned by wealthy people in places like Steamboat Springs.