FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT

Eric Barlow, the brother of HCN board member Michele Barlow, made it onto Vanity Fair’s list of the "Best Stewards of 2004," for his work protecting the Barlow family’s Wyoming ranch — and others like it — from oil and gas development. Eric, a veterinarian and former Marine, has been a prominent advocate for solving the "split-estate" problem, which pits landowners against energy companies (HCN, 2/7/05: Bush’s second-term shake-ups).

Michele is no slouch, either. As a lobbyist for the Wyoming Outdoor Council, she has been promoting a bill in the state Legislature that would establish a trust account for protecting wildlife habitat. The money for the account would come from the state’s general fund, which is fed mainly by taxes on the energy industry. As we go to press, the state Senate has already passed the bill, which has broad support from industry, agricultural interests and environmentalists.

CONDOLENCES

We were saddened to hear of several recent deaths.

Jeff Limerick, 56, husband of University of Colorado historian Patricia Limerick, died in early February of complications from illness. Jeff was an architect and an "epic wit." Our hearts go out to Patty, who assured the Colorado Daily that her own sense of humor is alive and well: "If we squished our sense of humor, we’d be lost. Jeff Limerick’s widow would never do that."

Wyoming wildlife veterinarian Beth Williams and her husband, Tom Thorne, were killed in a crash on snowy roads in northern Colorado just after Christmas. Williams, 53, was one of the foremost experts on chronic wasting disease, a fatal ailment affecting deer and elk (HCN, 2/16/04: Solving the puzzle of Chronic Wasting Disease). Thorne, 64, was also a veterinarian and worked for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for 35 years. The couple was instrumental in saving the last remaining black-footed ferrets, when they recognized that distemper was killing the endangered animals.

And we will miss the voice of writer Ellen Meloy, who died suddenly in her sleep in November at her home in Bluff, Utah. Meloy, 58, was the author of The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky and the forthcoming Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild, along with other works. Verlyn Klinkenborg, writing in The New York Times, quoted Meloy as saying, "A great deal of nature writing sounds like a cross between a chloroform stupor and a high Mass." "But not (Meloy’s)," wrote Klinkenborg. "She was devoted to the sand tracks and the slickrock of the Navajo Reservation, and she knew the value of clowning."

‘EXTINCTION INTERVENES’

We were sorry to hear that Wild Earth magazine is closing shop. The magazine was the provocateur of the wilderness movement, pushing activists to think beyond protecting pretty places, to restoring entire landscapes. It was bold, visionary and not afraid to offend. It was a champion of restoring large predators to large parts of the landscape — one issue contained a proposal to bring elephants to North America, to fill the ecological niche left by woolly mammoths. In the end, writes Editor Tom Butler in the final issue, "Our business acumen never came close to matching our intellectual curiosity. We were wilderness activists first."

CORRECTIONS

Apologies to Greg Jaczko, the new member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, whose name we inadvertently reduced to "0" in the story, "Bush’s second-term shake-ups." In the same story, we referred to Sen. Harry Reid as "Senate Majority Leader." He leads the Senate Democrats, who are actually in the minority (HCN, 2/7/05: Bush’s second-term shake-ups).