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Does Suckling know where he is?

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Dear HCN,

Buried within the text of Peter Aleshire's informative story on the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity is a quote from Kieran Suckling which describes the country where the Malpai Group works as "not a national forest allotment" and "mostly private land with low-elevation grassland" (HCN, 3/30/98).

On his one and (as far as I know) only trip to the Malpai Borderlands region, Suckling spent most of his day looking at a national forest allotment that lies at an elevation range of between 5,000 and 6,800 feet. Indeed, with the notable exception of the Gray Ranch, most of the ranches involved with the Malpai Group include high percentages of public land within their boundaries.

I was with Kieran Suckling during his entire visit and I believe he knew where he was. Perhaps it just didn't fit his paradigm of a "ruined forest." Kind of makes me wonder a little about his other "facts."

Bill McDonald

Douglas, Arizona

The writer is a rancher with the Malpai Borderlands Group.

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