Magazine
The Public Lands' Big Cash Crop

October 31, 2005

Elaborate marijuana gardens created and managed by Mexican drug lords are turning California’s public lands into a dangerous, illegal, industrial-style landscape. Also in this issue: The Forest Service’s claim that a recent court order would suspend routine activities – such as cutting Christmas trees or picking mushrooms – has been dismissed by the judge as the agency’s attempt to blow the issue out of proportion.

Feature

The Public Lands' Big Cash Crop
Elaborate marijuana gardens, created and managed by Mexican drug lords, are turning California’s public lands into a dangerous, illegal, industrial-style landscape

Editor's Note

The vast, unpatrolled public lands
The same solitude that attracts nature-lovers to the West’s public lands attracts lawbreakers as well – particularly a growing number of Mexican marijuana-growers

Uncommon Westerners

For this English chef, home is the Colorado Plateau
Chef John Sharpe has created a gourmet restaurant in the desert town of Winslow, Ariz., far from his birthplace in the misty green landscape of England

Essays

In Bush's Supreme Court, who's on first?
Newly confirmed Chief Justice John Roberts may not be the umpire he claims to be, but he could be worse: a counter-revolutionary, like Judge Janice Rogers Brown
The end of something really big
The chance to see a huge dead whale draws "carcass tourists" to the California coast

Dear Friends

Dear friends
Luther Propst joins HCN board; visitors; HCN wins awards; clarifications and corrections

News

Forest Service tries to teach greens a lesson
The Forest Service’s claim that a recent court order would suspend routine activities – such as cutting Christmas trees or picking mushrooms – has been dismissed by the judge as the agency’s attempt to blow the issue out of proportion
The Latest Bounce
Whistleblower Earle Dixon’s complaint denied; Colorado moose has chronic wasting disease; Colorado wind power gets cheaper than traditional electricity; court nixes BuRec’s 10-year Klamath River plan
A move to make land trusts more accountable
The Land Trust Alliance hopes its new accreditation program for land trusts will forestall the passage of federal legislation designed to end the abuse of conservation easements
Oil and gas drilling clouds the West's air
Air pollution from oil and gas drilling is on the increase in the Rocky Mountain West, and environmentalists and energy companies are trying to prevent it from getting any worse
Toothy nuisance moves north
Nutria, destructive beaver-like mammals from South America, are moving into the Skagit River Valley of northwestern Washington, and some believe a warming climate is to blame
Homeland Security gets to bypass environmental laws
Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff is using the recently passed Real ID Act to bypass environmental, safety and labor laws in order to build a giant border fence south of San Diego
Forest Service greases the skids for oil and gas
The Forest Service wants to create a new type of "categorical exclusion" to make it easier for oil and gas drilling projects to be approved without environmental study or public input
Will the BLM Web site shutdown ever end?
The BLM’s failure to plug security holes in its computers, especially those dealing with Indian trust fund accounts, means that most of the agency’s Web sites have been closed to the public for the past six months

Book Reviews

Odes to an urban mountain range
Two recent guidebooks – Mike Coltrin’s Sandia Mountain Hiking Guide and The Field Guide to the Sandia Mountains by Robert Julyan and Mary Stuever – are excellent guides to the trails and histories of the mountains outside Albuquerque
A long walk into hope
Bill McKibben’s new book, Wandering Home, is a hopeful account of a leisurely hike across northeastern America, as relevant to the West as it is to the East
Tony Hillerman's Navajoland
In Tony Hillerman’s Navajoland, Laurance D. Linford provides an obsessively detailed guide to the world of Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee Navajo mysteries
Recovering the Sacred: The Power of Naming and Claiming
Recovering the Sacred, by environmental and Indian rights activist Winona LaDuke, examines the struggle of American Indians to reclaim their sacred sites and beliefs
Cougar Management Guidelines
Cougar Management Guidelines collects current cougar research into a set of guidelines for managing these secretive and increasingly rare big cats

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
"Endangered Feces" T-shirts; troublesome T-shirts on airlines; renaming places in Oregon; outhouse races in Reno; rent-a-cave in Idaho; Parade of Homes vs. Parade of Wealth in Jackson

Letters