Dear friends


A special issue

Usually, 16 pages every other week is all it takes to report the news from our million-square-mile West, this being the sleepy region it is. But because we skipped an issue, and because writer Ray Ring has a lengthy report on Denver International Airport, and because of what we call the "wolf thing," this issue has bloated to an extraordinary 20 pages.


While the U.S. and Canadian mails were good enough to bring Stephan Fuller his HCN every other week, when he moved from Whitehorse in the Yukon Province to Peshawar, Pakistan, he thought it best to change his address in person, Paonia being very roughly on the way from Whitehorse to Peshawar. So he and friend Fran Hamilton stopped by the HCN office while on their way to nearby Carbondale, Colo., headquarters of Climbing magazine, to tell the staff there about his work on a new Pakistani national park around the base of K2, the world's second-highest mountain.

Former intern Alexei Rubenstein writes from Dillingham Bay, in southwestern Alaska, to tell us he is now news director of that Bristol Bay community's radio station. The town has 2,500 people and 28 miles of road, "but the roads don't go anywhere." After all, why would one want to go anywhere if one was already in Dillingham Bay?

Mike McClure, who kept HCN going, photographically speaking, in its Lander, Wyo., days, has an exhibit through Feb. 24 at the Wyoming Arts Council Gallery in Cheyenne, Wyo. The gallery is at 2320 Capitol Ave.

Mark and Becca Lucas, an engineer and teacher respectively, stopped by on their way from Phoenix to Denver to celebrate Christmas with their family.

On the very slow day of Dec. 30, subscriber Forrest (Woody) Hesselbarth stopped by to sign up his brother Dennis for a subscription. Forrest, a trail planner with the Nez Perce National Forest in Idaho, and Dennis, a pastor from inner-city Wichita, had spent the day skiing on nearby Grand Mesa, which local chambers of commerce call the "world's tallest flat-top mountain."

Raymond Kamm, sales director of a private international mail service, stopped by over the Christmas break to say hello.

Thanks to Jan Couto for the 1995 Denver telephone directories. Also thanks to the anonymous donor of the 1991 Wenatchee, Wash., directory.

If you are "tired of ditto-heads and mainstream media mush," tune in to the New West Network with activist Pat Wolff and guests on Santa Fe's KVSF-1260 at 1 p.m., Saturdays.

We think it was Christmas Eve day when Geoff Tischbein of the Colorado Division of Wildlife called to tell us our last issue of the year was great, except for one detail: We called a female bighorn sheep a mountain goat in a photo caption. (That was a little depressing.)

And Bruce Plenk, who describes himself as a "temporarily transplanted Utahn," wrote from Salem, Mass., to say that he had "finally found the response I knew existed to the interesting but linguistically odd Smokey article from October 3, 1994." Bruce didn't like us calling the Forest Service mascot Smokey Bear. "From my youth ... it's been Smokey THE bear for pete's sake! The enclosed song lyrics from a thought-provoking cassette of new songs by L.A. singer Ross Altman make the point better than I could:"

Now they're trying to tell me
To call him Smokey Bear
And take the "the" out of his name
As if it wasn't there
They say we just say Superman
And not "Super the Man"
But without the "the" in Smokey
His song just wouldn't scan.

Nor would the chorus:

Smokey the Bear
Smokey the Bear
Prowlin' and a growlin'
And a sniffin' the air
He can spot a fire
Before it starts to flame
That's why we call him Smokey
That was how he got his name.

Little guys

Year in and year out, reporters from small newspapers around Yellowstone National Park cover the wolf issue. Then, when it comes time to actually reintroduce the wolves, hundreds of "real" journalists arrive from around the world and the National Park Service forms a "pool" of reporters who will actually get to see the wolves scamper into the forest. And - surprise, surprise - the pool doesn't include any local reporters.

But, even bigger surprise, when the local reporters kicked up a fuss, the Park Service recognized the justice of their complaint and included local reporters. We'll hear from them more fully in the next issue.

* Ed Marston for the staff