High Country News April 24, 2000
In Las Vegas, strong unions help service workers achieve the kind of prosperity and security seldom reached by the working-class people of the West's non-union resort towns.
A tour of Arizona's recently opened Kartchner Caverns State Park reveals an extraordinary underground landscape that was undiscovered until 1974.
A Las Vegas historian argues that the rural West is nothing but an anachronism that means nothing in today's New West.
Springtime; HCN Albuquerque potluck; BLM conference in Las Vegas; Paonia's Easter eggs; Nicholas DeVore III visits from Bisbee, Arizona.
Two backcountry huts used by cross-country skiers in Sun Valley, Idaho, were destroyed by arson, and some suspect the arsonists might have been snowmobilers irate over ORV restrictions in national forests.
Two recaptured packs of Mexican wolves will be released in Gila Wilderness, N.M.; Atlas uranium tailings near Moab, Utah, kill fish in Colo. River; Enviros battle coal-bed methane wells in Mont.; Scott McInnis wants ski area in White River N.F., Colo.
Los Angeles has agreed to return some water to parched Owens Valley and to begin restoring Owens Lake, which was turned into an empty dust bowl to quench the thirst of L.A.
While anti-dam activists hold lively rallies calling for the demolition of Glen Canyon Dam, the pro-dam group Friends of Lake Powell stages rallies of its own, defending the reservoir and the local economy based on it.
Tiny Stehekin, Wash., thwarts a developer's plans to build condominiums and "boom" the town.
In Wyoming, hunters and ORVers rally to protest the way that newly arrived corporate ranchers and rich people are blocking traditional areas of access to public lands.
Nearly 1.4 million baby chinook die after a pump fails at the Cole M. Rivers Hatchery on Oregon's Rogue River.
Washington farmers are working to get into compliance with the Endangered Species and Clean Water acts to save threatened salmon.
In Arizona, "wildcat" subdivisions such as Picture Rocks are springing up everywhere, and lawmakers and antigrowth activists are fighting over how to bring the sprawl under control.
Arizona Gov. Jane Hull's Growing Smarter Commission would preserve as open space some of the state's trust lands, but critics say those acres are undevelopable anyway, and that the plan caters to rural lawmakers.
Despite all the anti-federal talk, especially in the West, the government is still in place, and still trying to do its job.
The National BLM Wilderness Campaign, a project of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, is lobbying to protect roadless lands throughout the country.
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt has proposed a new national monument near Tucson, Ariz., to protect the ironwood trees that are threatened by development and logging.
Pintail ducks flying north from California's Central Valley this spring will carry transmitters to track their migration routes in an attempt to find out why pintail duck numbers are dropping.
Joanna Sampson's booklet, "Remember Ludlow!", tells the story of the Ludlow Massacre, when National Guard troops fired on striking coal miners and their families at Ludlow, Colo., in 1914.
The Escalante Wilderness Action Gathering will be held May 19-21 near Glen Canyon.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has released its management plan for the Yellowstone Grizzly.
The University of Colorado School of Law holds its summer conference, "Water and Growth in the West," June 7-9.
Biographical profiles of American environmentalists are being sought by the editor of a reference book/CD ROM.
The works of two renowned Western photographers will be on exhibit at the Colorado History Museum through Aug. 6.
Historian Robert Kelley Schneider's book, "Unruly River: Two Centuries of Change Along the Missouri," describes how well-meaning civic boosters and farmers almost destroyed the Missouri River's landscape and the Indian tribes that once lived along it.
The essays that sociologist Devon Peûa has assembled in his book, "Chicano Culture, Ecology, Politics: Subversive Kin," argue for a homegrown Chicano environmental ethic in the changing, contested landscape of New Mexico.
Heard Around the West
Western newspaper mottos; elk semen; outdoor bathrooms and "rock cairns"; carousers burn Boy Scouts' trail logs; fox in hospital in Sun Valley, ID; killer bees to St. George, UT; Santa Rosa, CA drive-throughs; "Nome Nat'l Forest"; political yogis; ATVs.
Geoconda Arguello-Kline describes her work as an organizer for the Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In her own words, banquet server Peggy Pierce talks about life in Las Vegas and women in the union.
Bernice Thomas talks about her job running the maids' training school for the Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas.
In California, a new law opens the door to union organizing in 58 Indian-owned casinos in the state.
In her own words, Polish immigrant Aldona Sobiecki talks about the Polish community in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Russian-born Elena Bernlohr describes her journey from railroad construction engineering in Moscow to working as a bookkeeper for the Breckenridge, Colo., Music Festival.