The Wayward West

  David Brower resigned from the national board of the Sierra Club on May 18, criticizing its neutral stand on U.S. immigration issues (HCN, 5/11/98: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses) and accusing the organization of a general lack of gumption. "Overpopulation is perhaps the biggest problem facing us, and immigration is part of that problem," he told The San Francisco Chronicle. Brower's resignation follows a board election marked by bitter conflict between the John Muir Sierrans, a hard-line faction within the group, and members who favor a more conciliatory approach to issues. The board remains roughly balanced.

The proposed White River National Forest plan has caused an avalanche - of mail, that is. At the May 9 deadline, the Colorado forest had received 14,400 comments on the controversial plan, enough to create a stack of paper 12 feet high (HCN, 1/17/00: STOP - A national forest tries to rein in recreation). Forest officials say only about one-third of the comments are form letters or postcards. When the existing plan was reviewed in 1983, the public sent 275 letters and about 100 postcards.

A federal judge says the Army Corps of Engineers has been ignoring environmental laws on the Yellowstone River, the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states (HCN, 3/27/00: The last wild river). In mid-May, a judge in Billings, Mont., found the agency hadn't paid attention to the combined effects of 14 bank stabilization projects permitted in 1996 and 1997. The Corps must now review its decisions and decide whether any of the projects warrant environmental impact statements.

Bart, the "spokesbear" for animal cancer research and wildlife habitat protection (HCN, 5/8/00: Bart: Still a trooper), has died. The 1,500-pound grizzly bear was raised in captivity near Salt Lake City and starred in several films, including The Edge. After he was diagnosed with cancer in late 1998, he underwent two surgeries to remove tumors from his paw. His trainers believed he had made a full recovery, but the cancer reappeared in recent months. Bart was euthanized on May 10 at the age of 23.

Copyright © 2000 HCN and Allen Best