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High Country News April 23, 2001

The Big Blowup

Feature

The Big Blowup

A historian of fire recalls the "Big Blowup" of 1910, an explosion of wildfire in Idaho that took 78 lives, made a hero of ranger Ed Pulaski, and helped to share a century of fire policy on the national forests.

Dear Friends

Dear friends

Activist Connie Harvey celebrates 70th birthday in Aspen, Colo.; visitors by modem and phone; God leads HCN subscribers; oops: HCN booboos.

News

An unabashed moralist bows out

Longtime, controversial New Mexico activist Sam Hitt retires from Forest Guardians to write a book.

Monuments caught in the crosshairs

Under the new administration of George W. Bush, Republicans seek to open Clinton's new national monuments to oil and gas exploration and other uses and to revise the way monuments are created.

Roadless rule hits the skids

The Bush administration is working to revise and weaken Clinton's roadless area conservation rules for national forests.

The latest bounce

Idaho can't kill sage grouse predators; Colo. coyote-killing study stopped; Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.) against drilling on public land near Jackson; Interior/Treasury must account for lost Indian monies; Sen. Slade Gorton may become federal judge.

Monument status could wreck ruins

Archaeologists fear that without more funds to manage tourism, the ruins in newly designated Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Colo., will suffer from increased visitors.

Microwaveable wilderness

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and Wilderness Watch are challenging a microwave repeater tower in Death Valley National Park that was put up without any environmental assessment.

Company leaves victims in its dust

In Libby, Mont., residents who are sick or dying of exposure to asbestos from W.R. Grace's vermiculite mine are outraged by the company's decision to file for bankruptcy in the face of their lawsuits.

Debate roars over quiet canyon

Environmentalists say new rules restricting helicopter and airplane flights in the Grand Canyon still aren't enough to restore quiet, even as air-tour operators react with anger and lawsuits.

Slapping back at SLAPPs

A bill designed to protect citizens from frivolous lawsuits called SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) was defeated in Colorado's state Senate, but its sponsor plans to try again.

Islands hung out to dry

Idaho irrigators are relieved that water rights have been denied for the 94 islands in the Snake River that make up the Deer Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

Plan protects foresters, not fish

Washington state's much-hyped "Forests and Fish" plan is being criticized by scientists, environmentalists, fishermen and tribes as a sell-out to the timber industry likely to hasten the salmon's decline.

An environmentalist in the heart of cowboy culture

Former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, Arizona native, rancher and environmentalist, lectures on cooperation and community in the West at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev., and gets a surprising ovation.

Book Reviews

Benigna's Chimayo: Cuentos from the Old Plaza

In "Benigna's Chimayo: Cuentos from the Old Plaza," Don Usner recounts the rich stories his grandmother used to tell him, when he spent childhood summers with her in Chimayo, N.M.

Fool's Gold: Telluride's 'magical realism'

In "Fool's Gold: Lives, Loves, and Misadventures in the Four Corners Country," Rob Schultheis tells of life in Telluride, Colo., from its ramshackle hippie days in the 1970s to its growth into an expensive ski resort.

Billboards blast bomb industries

The Los Alamos Study Group, a nonprofit focused on nuclear disarmament, has put up five billboards on I-25 in New Mexico that criticize the state's dependence on the nuclear weapons industry.

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West

Moab and "The Vagina Monologues"; "squaw" and its English equivalent in Idaho; Unimogs are new ultimate behemoths; motorized scooters new trend.

Related Stories

After the fires, Part I

An introduction to this issue's lead story and the next talks about the need for changes in the Forest Service's fire policy, especially in the West.

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