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High Country News May 30, 2005

Write-off on the Range

Feature

Write-off on the Range

In Montana’s Madison County, Reid Rosenthal uses conservation easements to help the land — and make his investors rich

Editor's Note

A call for modest reform

The time is ripe for moderate reform of the conservation easement system

Dear Friends

Dear friends

Welcome to summer interns Tony Barboza and Patrick Farrell; visitors; Grist wins Web site award

Uncommon Westerners

A glimpse of the past in a grain of pollen

Montana paleoecologist Cathy Whitlock studies the recent geological past and looks for clues to the future of the West

News

For sale: Your local ranger station?

Facing severe budget cuts, the Forest Service is selling off property, and considering closing some recreation sites it considers too expensive to maintain

Follow-up

Fish farms spread sea lice to wild salmon; Intermountain Rural Electric Association votes to exempt itself from Colorado’s renewable energy standard; New Mexico rancher Kit Laney is leaving the country

Moab: On the horns of a recreation dilemma

Some of the residents of the Moab, Utah, area are losing patience with out-of-control off-highway recreation, and looking to the BLM to bring things under control

Learning from Moab's example

In the North Fruita Desert of western Colorado, the BLM has come up with a plan to enable motorized and non-motorized recreationists to share the outdoors

A massive restoration program may have nothing left to save

Fish populations are plunging in the California Delta even as the CalFed Bay-Delta Authority considers exporting yet more water

State takes another shot at land swapping

The Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act would give the BLM some prime recreation areas in the southeastern part of the state in exchange for oil-rich land in the Uintah Basin

Mountain bike association wheels into national parks

The National Park Service has agreed to explore opening some of the parks to mountain biking

Revamped road to Chaco may be the park's ruin

Archaeologists are worried that a plan to upgrade the 16-mile gravel road to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico could lead to more tourism and possibly harm the park’s fragile ruins

Tax credits make eco-logging pay

The U.S. Treasury Department has given $50 million in tax credits to Ecotrust to help depressed Northwestern timber towns carry out sustainable logging

Book Reviews

Bringing back the wolf = bringing back the habitat

In Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wolf to Yellowstone, biologist Douglas Smith and nature writer Gary Ferguson seek to separate myth from reality in the long and turbulent saga of the wolf

A view of the West from on high

In his essay collection Dragons in Paradise, George Sibley reminisces about his years in the funky mountain ski town of Crested Butte, Colorado

The Singing Life of Birds

The Singing Life of Birds by Donald Kroodsma explores the varieties of birdsong, and even includes a CD of nearly 100 songs

Little Things in a Big Country: An Artist and Her Dog on the Rocky Mountain Front

In Little Things in a Big Country, Hannah Hinchman shares a beautifully hand-drawn, hand-lettered journal of her adventures in Montana with her dog, Sisu

Wild Echoes: Encounters With the Most Endangered Animals in North America

In Wild Echoes, Charles Bergman describes his up-close experiences with endangered creatures that range from black-footed ferrets and California condors to the manatees of Florida

Essays

Ego gates get my goat — and that's just the beginning

Why do newcomers to the West need to build such obnoxious entrance gates to their brand-new ranchettes?

Starry Eyes

When it comes to perfect starry nights, the West is always the winner

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West

Snowmobiling sans snow; Las Vegas "condiments"; wacky weather in Washington; burritos, bears and school lockdowns; wrapping glaciers in Switzerland; Salazar takes on the Family; good manners ease highway screw-up

Related Stories

Conservation Easement Statistics

Statistics from the Land Trust Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service

Congress looks to reform a system with no steering wheel

A proposal to overhaul the tax rules around conservation easements has private-land conservationists worried, but recent financial scandals show the need for some reform

Colorado tax credits make easements work for working people

Conservation easements are considered the domain of the wealthy, but in Colorado, tax credits are helping farmers like Dorothy and Norman Kehmeier preserve their family’s land.

How to Examine Conservation Easements

Conservation easements are often a closed book if you're not one deal makers. Here are a few tips on how to examine a conservation easement in your area.

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