Items by Ray Ring

Firespeak Catastrophe
We need to revise or toss out some of our fire vocabulary, especially "wildland-urban interface," "pre-settlement condition" and Smokey’s slogan "only you"
Big blowups will continue, whether we like it or not
Billions of dollars are being spent to fight Western wildfires, but some scientists now believe that the big blowups can’t be prevented, and that they may be good for the health of the forests
Locals fight new railroad
Ranchers, environmentalists and other locals are fighting plans for the largest railroad construction project in a century, which would cross national grasslands in Wyoming and South Dakota.
A mine falls, and a tribe may get the shaft
Part of the price of stopping the planned New World Mine near Yellowstone may turn out to be the development of coal reserves along Otter Creek, next to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation
A breath of fresh air
For over 30 years, the Northern Cheyenne have stood firm against energy development and its environmental impacts, but now, faced with crushing poverty, some are starting to think about developing the reservation’s coal and methane resources
Open space initiative offers hope
The Lake County Open Space Initiative has preserved land around Leadville and created trails for cross-country skiing and other recreation, but some local politicians say it’s snatching up too much private land and water.
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.
Feds bail on snowmobile ban
The National Park Service gives up on trying to ban snowmobiles from Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks
Election Bounce
Most green initiatives fail in West; a few bright spots; "Indian vote" helped Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., but not George Cordova in Arizona; Sen. Wayle Allard, R, re-elected in Colorado; Dems gain 11 seats in Idaho; Northwest keeps to status quo
Conservation vote groups optimistic
Ed Zuckerman of the Federation of State Voter Conservation Leagues says environmentalists should not despair over the recent elections, because grassroots conservation groups did very well at the local level
Gated communities go in with a bang
Exclusive gated communities such as Montana's Yellowstone Club impact the land as well as the social fabric.
Judges rule gas leases are illegal
Three judges say the BLM illegally leased coalbed methane rights in Wyoming's Powder River Basin without evaluating impacts - a ruling environmentalists say could affect similar leases across the West.
The politics of growth
Almost every major election in Arizona is up for grabs this year, along with a rash of ballot initiatives, and some observers hope the state can pull out of its headlong rush into uncontrolled growth and development.
Around the West, the hot races to watch
HCN takes a state-by-state look at the most important elections coming up in the West.
The Latest Bounce
San Gabriel Watersheds Study Act passes House; Sisters' cattle removed from BLM land; Gold mine resurrected for land sacred to Indians; Utah Rep. Jim Hansen makes deal to sell site to Mormon Church; and Mont. Gov. says miners are "true environmentalists."
The Latest Bounce
Groups appeal White River Plan; Wyoming Game and Fish wants dual classification for gray wolf; judge orders BuRec to release Rio Grande water; Interior Sec. and Assistant Sec. held in contempt; woman's body strapped to hood of vehicle.
This land holds a story the church won't tell
The Mormon Church would like to buy all of Martin's Cove, Wyo., where Mormon pioneers died 146 years ago, but the writer believes the historical site should stay in the hands of the public, so the full story can be told.
Backlash
In Gallatin County, Mont., and Delta County, Colo., local citizens and county governments are fiercely resisting the recent, no-holds-barred push to drill for coalbed methane.
The author responds
Montana's governor is a poor choice to lead the West
The Western Governors Association made a serious mistake when it selected as its leader Montana Gov. Judy Martz, R, the least qualified member in terms of experience, personality and results.
2,997 ... 2,998 ... 2,999
Among other tasks, research entomologist Justin Schmidt counts bee stings in dead animals at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Ariz.
Dear Friends
Colorado wildfires threaten homes and forests throughout the state; welcome Paul Gibb, new business manager, wife Greta and twin baby boys; favorable reviews for Radio HCN; visitors; correction.
The buzz business
The problem of controlling Africanized bees is now widespread, and some are taking advantage of the frightening invasion to earn a good living.
Wolves still struggle in the Southwest
Restoring Mexican wolves to the Southwest has met more resistance than the restoration of wolves in the Northern Rockies.
'There isn't much room for more wolves'
Ralph Maughan, professor of political science at Idaho State University, and president-elect of the Wolf Recovery Foundation, blames conflicts on not enough room in the wild for wolves.
'I respect wolves. I still don't like them killing our sheep.'
In her own words, Margaret Soulen Hinson explains that wolf predation is minimal compared to other animals that kill her family's sheep.
Wolf at the door
Wolves have been restored in the Northern Rockies, but their conflict with civilization now prompts wildlife managers to face some agonizing decisions about the animal's future.
Water threat inspires a rare alliance
Two proposed power plants in Post Falls, Idaho, have locals, business leaders and environmentalists coming together to block what could have a detrimental effect on the drinking water for more than 400,000 people in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.
Winter-use plan lurches toward the finish line
The National Park Service has issued its Winter-Use Plans Draft Supplemental EIS, the agency's first attempt to manage winter traffic in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
Cleaner machines drive (slowly) toward Yellowstone
The Environmental Protection Agency is developing the first emission standards for off-road motors, including snowmobiles.