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Dudes and locals need to work together

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I smiled at Jim Stiles’ essay (HCN, 3/21/05: A look at the West, in the funhouse mirror). In the late 1950s, my mother ripped my sister and me out of New York City and moved us to Wyoming. My mother was tenacious and proud of her "Western" life, but despite over 30 years of living in the West, when we scattered her ashes over her property, I knew my mother was still a "dude" to the locals. And, by default, so was I, even though I could ride, train and doctor a horse nearly as well as the old-timers.

Now, for over 25 years I’ve lived an urban Western life. Stiles described me and my neighbors as "New Westerners." Although the dichotomy between "dude" and "local," and "new" and "old" always bothered me, I could never really define it. Stiles describes it flawlessly. And he is right: Entrenched positions about what is right for the "Current West" will do absolutely nothing to solve the many problems that we, new and old alike, experience. We all need to drop our preconceived notions of what is right and wrong, and listen to our collective wisdom to find workable solutions to safeguard our beloved resources.

Linda D. Paul Boise, Idaho

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