Magazine
Back On Track

November 14, 2005

Denver, Colo., one of the West’s most sprawling, traffic-choked cities, has become a champion of mass transit with FasTracks, its ambitious light-rail project. Also in this issue: A provision in the new energy bill promises funding to speed up the oil and gas permitting process in BLM offices – without costing the industry an extra penny.

Feature

Back On Track
Denver, Colo., one of the West’s most sprawling, traffic-choked cities, has become a champion of mass transit with FasTracks, its ambitious light-rail project

Editor's Note

You say you want a railvolution...
Westerners may love their cars, but the region’s rapid growth means that even the most ardent car-lovers have a stake in mass transit, and in Denver’s grand experiment in light rail

Uncommon Westerners

She wins friends for lions, wolves and bears
Janelle Holden, the daughter of two Republican legislators, works with the Predator Conservation Alliance in Montana to help ranchers learn how to co-exist with wolves and other predators

Essays

Are we ready to learn the lessons of fire and flood?
Sen. Larry Craig’s suggestion that New Orleans’ 9th Ward be restored as a wetland may represent a newfound respect for the power of nature and the limits of the human ability to control it
The day they close the pass
As mountain towns get more accessible and lively, even in midwinter, the author relishes the way his tiny, remote town slows to a stop once the mountain pass highway is closed for the season

Dear Friends

Dear friends
Thanks to readers for Research Fund gifts and the many responses to HCN’s survey; visitors

News

Oil drillers get 'one-stop shopping' at no extra cost
A provision in the new energy bill promises funding to speed up the oil and gas permitting process in BLM offices – without costing the industry an extra penny
The Latest Bounce
Assistant Interior Secretary Rebecca Watson resigns; Texas oil baron Oscar Wyatt indicted in Iraq oil-for-food scandal; Congress won’t fund "bunker buster" nukes; Fish and Wildlife OK with lynx mortality at proposed Wolf Creek ski village
Sacred claims
American Indian tribes face an uphill battle in their effort to protect sacred sites on federal land in the West
Eastern Sierra counties seek sustainable growth
A land-exchange plan especially designed for California’s Eastern Sierra could help prevent development controversies such as the current one over the proposed Whitney Portal project near scenic Lone Pine
Property-rights measure overturned
Oregon’s controversial Measure 37, which de-clawed the state’s famous land-use regulations, has been ruled unconstitutional by a Marion County judge.
Doubling density near Durango
The La Plata County commissioners have signed two deals allowing energy companies to double the density of coalbed methane wells near Durango, Colo.
Business booster still guides national park rules
Conservationists fear that the new National Park Service management policy will reduce environmental protection at the expense of commercial interests
Declining seabird may drop off the endangered list
The Fish and Wildlife Service has announced plans to remove the marbled murrelet from the endangered species list, despite the small seabird’s declining numbers

Book Reviews

Crossing hearts on Colorado's plains
Laura Pritchett’s first novel, Sky Bridge, perfectly captures the speech and rhythms of everyday life in the hardscrabble ranchland of the eastern Colorado plains
The native gardens of California
Ethnobotanist Kat Anderson’s new book, Tending the Wild, examines the way California’s native peoples used – and shaped – the landscape’s natural resources before Europeans invasion
Imperfect Pasture: A Century of Change at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
In Imperfect Pasture, Bruce Smith, Eric Cole and David Dobkin examine the conservation successes – and failures – of the National Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyo.
The Mountain Encyclopedia
The Mountain Encyclopedia by Frederic V. Hartemann and Robert Hauptman delivers intriguing, well-illustrated facts and figures about mountainous topics from all over the world

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Old-timers can no longer ski for free at Park City; 80-year-old farmer won’t slow down; scary killer bee stories; Alaskan pork; Bluff vs. Pokershare.com; no road to new high school in Tombstone

Letters

Related Stories

Commuter trains could connect the West's far-flung cities
Longer commuter rails could connect the West’s far-flung cities in ways they haven’t been connected since the glory days of the railroad
Reading, riding and relaxing
Architect Kevin Koernig, who commutes from suburban Littleton to downtown Denver, loves light rail because it saves him money, keeps him healthy, and gives him extra time to read
A city center in the suburbs
Charlie Lybrand enjoys living in his transit-oriented complex in metro Denver, because he rarely has to drive to get to college or go out to party
Light rail moves inland from the 'Left Coast'
Light rail has become unexpectedly popular in deeply conservative Salt Lake City, Utah