Over the years, High Country News has been blessed with many friends and supporters. Surely one of the most faithful is Connie Harvey. On more than one occasion, the longtime resident of Aspen, Colo., has made timely contributions that have kept the paper going or seeded a new endeavor, such as our Writers on the Range column service.
Last month, Connie’s children, including former HCN intern Mark Harvey, surprised their mother with a party to celebrate her 70th birthday. About 100 friends, family and admirers filled up the main hall at the T Lazy 7 Ranch outside Aspen to toast the woman who founded the Aspen Wilderness Workshop and led efforts to protect wilderness areas in Colorado and around the West. Among those attending was HCN board member John McBride, who, dressed as a French maid, tried to convince Connie that he was just hired help.
The most moving part of the evening was a video put together by Mark that recounted Connie’s adventures, including her remarkable rescue from the Andrea Doria, an ocean liner that sank off the coast of Massachusetts in 1956. Connie was nine months pregnant with her first child when she and her husband plunged into the Atlantic. We and many others who care about the American West are glad that she was plucked out of the water by a rescue boat.
Grit and determination have always been Connie’s trademark. She continues to oversee a cattle ranch and write a monthly environmental column for the Aspen Daily News. As one of her sons said, "I feel sorry for whoever she takes on."
By modem and by phone
Another dedicated activist dropped by the office in April. Pandora Rose was visiting Paonia from Ramona, Calif., a small town outside San Diego. Pandora works for the Center for Biological Diversity, where she is trying to protect 65 endangered species on four Southern California national forests, including the California gnatcatcher, the southwest arroyo toad and the steelhead trout. In her free time, she volunteers for Save Our Forests and Ranchlands, a group that has taken on big developers in San Diego County and won.
"California is destroying its open space. Orange County doesn’t have it. Riverside is paving over theirs," she says. "But we still have beautiful open spaces, well worth fighting for."
Pandora says she first found HCN on the Web, and that she now receives our free every-other-week e-mail newsletter.
Reader Paul Rausch from Sunny Slope, Idaho, gave us a timely telephone call. He had just read a Dear Friends column in which we mentioned historian and fire ecologist Stephen Pyne, who captivated our staff and board members with his harrowing tale of firefighter Ed Pulaski (HCN, 2/26/01: Dear Friends). Rausch, who teaches meteorology to wildland firefighters, says Pulaski came from rugged stock. His great-great-grandfather, Casimir Pulaski, was a general in the Polish army who sailed to America and became George Washington’s chief of staff during the Revolutionary War. Pyne’s story of Ed Pulaski begins on the cover of this issue.
Pulaski may be best known for the firefighting tool that bears his name. The Pulaski that accompanies Pyne’s story was lent to us by Paonian Lynn Mattingly; she first acquired it during her work on the Colorado Trail, and now uses it to build trails near her bed and breakfast.
The Lord works in mysterious ways
We often wonder how people find High Country News, the little paper that shows up on just a few dozen newsstands. In search of answers, HCN Web master Chris Wehner recently called a handful of subscribers. Some said they’d learned about us from a friend. Others said they’d "just known about the paper forever." But the most interesting response to the question, "How did you find out about us?":
Aside from divine intervention, Circulation Manager Gretchen Nicholoff tells us that direct mail is still our best tool for finding new subscribers. Our readers help us, too, she adds, by giving gift subscriptions to friends. Our recent "sponsor a politician," drive bumped up our subscriber list in Washington, D.C., by a dozen or so. Many thanks to those who participated, and if there’s a politico you think should be reading the paper, give Gretchen a call at 800/905-1155.
Sorry we were such turkeys! In our column, Heard around the West, we reported that turkeys were harassing mail carriers in Newton, Calif. (HCN, 3/26/01: Heard around the West). It turns out that the story referred to Newton, Mass. Thanks for the heads up from Brian Flinn of Jamaica Plain, Mass. Our heads are hanging down to our wattles.
We also reported mistakenly that President Clinton signed strict new mining regulations on his last day in office (HCN, 4/9/01: Republicans launch counteroffensive). Actually, the new rules were published in the Federal Register in November. It was Clinton’s last day in office that the rules became effective. Under President Bush, the Bureau of Land Management quickly put the rules back up for review.