The Wayward West

  Climbers are off the hook and back on their bolts (HCN, 8/17/98). Undersecretary of Agriculture Jim Lyons halted a U.S. Forest Service ban on fixed anchors in wilderness - for now. USDA official Stephanie Hague says public groups will begin "negotiations' about a new rule in the next few months. Climbers and wilderness advocates want to know how much will be negotiable. Forest Service deputy Chris Wood says, "Whatever we do, we won't compromise the integrity or intent of the Wilderness Act."

Idaho says, "Not so fast." Two weeks after a federal judge told the Coeur d'Alene Tribe that the southern third of Lake Coeur d'Alene will return to Indian hands, the state said it will appeal, reports the Spokane Spokesman-Review (HCN, 8/17/98). "It isn't surprising," said the tribe's Bob Bostwick. "We pretty much expected an appeal in an election year."

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has lost a name from its advisory board. After publisher Gibbs Smith made plans for a tourists' "trading post" in the town of Boulder, Utah, some environmentalists thought it would be best if he and the group parted ways, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Now that he's stepped down, SUWA is downplaying the move. Says the group's director Mike Matz, "He's just been a name on our masthead."

At Yosemite National Park, county and park officials have agreed on a new plan that will limit car traffic on park roads - eventually. The new bus system approved earlier this month could transport 80,000, or 2 percent, of the park's 4 million visitors next year, reports the Los Angeles Times. Motorists now pay $20 per car to enter the park; a ride on the bus will cost only $3 per person. Critics say the project isn't all that ambitious: Even with the new buses, the park will still build a 1,800-space parking lot.

A plan for a nine-hole golf course expansion into the Inyo National Forest near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., has landed in the rough (HCN, 2/16/98). The Sierra Club filed a suit against the Forest Service July 27 to stop a local developer from turning 95 acres of public land into emerald-green fairways. Sierra Club attorney Rebecca Bernard says, "We shouldn't be building golf courses on national forest lands."

* Dustin Solberg and Taffeta Elliott