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High Country News August 27, 2001

Restoring the range of light


Restoring the Range of Light

In California, the Forest Service issues a revolutionary management plan for the Sierra Nevada's forests, putting the health of trees and wildlife before that of the timber industry.

Dear Friends

Dear Friends

About this issue; Paonia growth battle; Peter Chilson and other visitors; tribute to Chuck Wellner; axing the fax.


Minnow melee continues

A controversial federal-state agreement seeks to share scarce Rio Grande water between the rare silvery minnow and New Mexico farmers.

Showdown on the Nevada range

The Sagebrush Rebellion smolders when the BLM impounds and tries to auction off cattle owned by ranchers Ben Colvin and Jack Vogt for refusing to pay for grazing allotments.

The Latest Bounce

Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA); Interior Dept. still in mess over Indian trust accounts; law firm hired by government for Yucca Mtn. also lobbies for nuclear industry; Bush may roll back Clinton-era restriction on coal-fired power plants.

Utah town goes 'U.N. free'

La Verkin, Utah, declares itself a "U.N. Free Zone" in a controversial ordinance that would have required U.N. supporters to identify themselves as "U.N. Agents," file "activity reports" and pay unspecified fees.

A-LP gets federal A-OK

A revised and scaled-down version of Colorado's controversial Animas-La Plata water project appears poised to become reality at last.

Who mans forest flows?

The Forest Service's right to demand "bypass flows" - leaving enough water in streams tapped for human uses to keep fish and wildlife healthy - may not survive the Bush administration.

Four-wheelin' for fee

Four-wheel-drive recreationists protest the Forest Service's new $5 per vehicle fee to enter Canyon Creek near Ouray, Colorado.

Neighbors get nasty in New Mexico

An armed encounter erupts between environmental activist Deirdre Wolf and local rancher Alex Thal over whether a road through her property near Silver City, N.M., is public or private.

Drawing a line in the mud

In Colorado, The Nature Conservancy begins a battle against the exotic invader tamarisk, hoping to make the San Miguel River tamarisk-free before the plant takes over entirely.

Fire plan gets a scolding

The government's General Accounting Office criticizes the $1.6 billion National Fire Plan approved by Congress last September.

Book Reviews

The wild West lives

Dave Foreman's first novel, The Lobo Outback Funeral Home, tackles issues like wolf reintroduction, old-boy politics, and New Mexico culture clashes in the guise of fiction.

Dangerous parks

The U.S. Park Rangers Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police lists the 10 most dangerous national parks in the country.

Small steps for change

Jessica Sherwood's Feet First Program seeks to fight Colorado sprawl and traffic by introducing schoolchildren to the idea of alternative transportation.

Arctic Refuge

The brief essays gathered in Arctic Refuge: A Circle of Testimony offer passionate arguments against drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Harvesting ancient farming

The Colorado nonprofit Sustainable Settings wants to teach farmers about an ancient agricultural system called "alley cropping" that uses scant water wisely and protects against soil erosion.


A former oilman says no to drilling in theArctic

Writer and geologist Rick Bass calls on the Senate to save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from drilling, keeping this extraordinary refuge a true and untouched refuge.

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West

Boy Scouts vandalize dinosaur tracks; escaping Ore. bison; power plant workers camp in Las Animas, CO; James Dean loses cigarette in Utah; ORVer defends his destruction; Idaho Rep. Otter pays Clean Water fine; Wyoming has most cars per household.

Related Stories

Sierra Framework treads between protection, treatment

The Sierra Nevada Framework seeks to protect old-growth trees where the California spotted owl lives, but some critics say the agency should aggressively thin and clear the region's fire-prone forests.

The way it works

Some facts are given about the Sierra Nevada Framework and its management plans for 11 national forests in California.

A plan for the Sierra: 20 years in the making

A timeline traces the evolution of the Sierra Framework from 1981, when the Forest Service first tackled the impact of intensive logging on the California spotted owl.

Career bureaucrat blazes a new trail

California regional forester Brad Powell, a 32-year agency employee not known as a "bunny-hugger," put his career on the line to finish and approve the Sierra Nevada Framework.

Modern-day Muir copes with victory

Longtime California environmental activist Craig Thomas praises the Sierra Nevada Framework as a "landmark" document.

Fire managers play a subtle new game

Forest Service fire manager Brent Skaggs worries that the Framework's new burning restrictions won't allow the amount of controlled burning he believes necessary to prevent catastrophic wildfires.

Sierra loggers get the ax

Cecil Wetsel and other mill operators and loggers in towns like El Dorado Hills, California, warn that the Framework's timber cutbacks may harm the forest as well as the local economy.

'The fire group is in a real building process'

Forest Service fire specialist Berni Bahro talks about fuels management in the forest under the new Sierra Nevada Framework.

Timber towns search for a new economy

North Fork, Calif., and other struggling timber towns resent the fact that the Framework places survival of the owl above survival of the logging industry.

Forest Plan has plenty of appeal(s)

The Forest Service has received more than 200 appeals of the Sierra Nevada Framework, but instead of coming from environmental groups, as usual, most come from people in small towns like Tulare and Visalia, California.

Cows aren't wanted here

California ranchers, such as Dick O'Sullivan, who graze cattle on Forest Service land, are angry that the Framework plans to reduce grazing in the Sierras by 20 percent.

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