High Country News May 22, 2000
In the wake of the huge fires that swept across the Great Basin in August 1999, the BLM is seeking ways to restore the sagebrush landscape and to control the fire-prone cheatgrass that now infests it.
The fire-loving weed cheatgrass is taking over the Great Basin's overgrazed sagebrush steppes, and BLM scientists are struggling to find a way to eradicate the non-native weeds and restore the land before it all goes up in flames.
"Errare humanum est"; summer interns Kayley Mendenhall and Katie Oppenheimer; fourth grade visits HCN; Craig Child's reading; William Hornby gets award.
A profile of Forest Service botanist Steve Monsen describes his battle with squarrose knapweed, which is infesting the western part of Utah, where Monsen has spent his life.
The National Marine Fisheries Service wants to table for five to 10 years any serious debate on breaching four dams in the Snake River to save salmon.
Some wolf advocates are furious over the recent killing of five livestock-attacking wolves in the White Cloud Mountains of Idaho.
As Seattle's suburbs encroach on wildlife habitat, residents alarmed by increasing mountain lion-human encounters have pressured the Legislature into passing a law allowing the public to hunt cougars with dogs.
Craters of the Moon expanded in Idaho; Colo. gold-mining company sues Montana over anti-cyanide heap-leaching law; EPA's Bill Yellowtail suspended during investigation; Allan Elias gets 17 years for exposing employee to cyanide; not that many cows in NV.
As increasing numbers of recreationists discover Utah's San Rafael Swell, the BLM struggles to manage the area and environmentalists, ORVers and politicians wrangle over the best way to preserve - or exploit - the land.
In Utah, a huge swap of state and federal lands in the western part of the state falls through when environmentalists and anti-wilderness locals object.
In Colorado, Rep. Scott McInnis has proposed a bill to make the 130,000-acre Black Ridge Canyon a national conservation area, with 72,000 acres designated wilderness.
A plan to extend the Continental Divide Trail through northern New Mexico's Rio Arriba County meets opposition from Hispanic locals, who claim the land under old Spanish land grants and say that until their land is returned, no trail will go through.
The prescribed burn in Bandelier National Monument that roared out of control into Los Alamos, N.M., can be blamed on logging restrictions, the writer argues.
Only consensus between environmentalists and loggers and careful, sustainable forestry can protect the West from the kind of fires that ravaged Los Alamos, N.M., the writer believes.
Heard Around the West
Steamboat Geyser erupts in Yellowstone; behind scenes at Miss USA pageant; killer bees in AZ; backcountry skier gets to safety with perseverance; subsidized smoking on reservations; geckos released to control roaches in Golden Gate State Park, Calif.