Gateways to good growth

  A new breed of Western city is sprouting in scenic areas, and the resulting population booms call for new planning methods, say Jim Howe, Ed McMahon and Luther Propst in Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities. In tourist towns like Pigeon Forge, Tenn., low-paying seasonal businesses have overshadowed historical and natural attractions, driving residents out. But growing Western towns have the opportunity to learn from these misfortunes. Howe and the others claim that if enough people get involved, economic development can enhance the quality of life in a growing community. The book illustrates its claims with case studies from places like Dubois, Wyo., and Tucson, Ariz. In Red Lodge, Mont., a citizen-based task force developed affordable "assisted living" for senior citizens, fought to keep the post office in its downtown location and offset the creation of a light-industrial park on the outskirts of town by encouraging ranchers to develop conservation easements elsewhere. The 165-page paperback, chock-full of photographs, costs $21.95 from Island Press, 1718 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20009-1148 (202/232-7933). "Taffeta Elliott