Dear friends

  • On the road: Great Basin regional editor Jon Christensen


A special issue

Longtime readers will notice that this edition of the paper is fatter than usual by 12 pages and written primarily by one person, Jon Christensen, who covers the vast Great Basin as our regional editor. This special issue has been many months in the making, and Jon joined staff in Paonia for a week of final touches.

Readers in California's Bay Area should mark Saturday, April 8, on their calendar. Jon Christensen will speak from 2-4 p.m. at the Ecology Center in Berkeley about his opus, "At Home in the Wasteland." The location is 2530 San Pablo Ave., just south of Dwight Way. For information, call Jon at 702/885-2023, or Chris Clarke at the Ecology Center, 510/548-2220.

Who's doing what

Congratulations to former HCN intern Ken Wright, who is the author of a new book, A Wilder Life: Essays from Home. It's about forays through regions as diverse as the Okavango River in southern Africa and Winter Park, Colo. The book is published by Kivaki Press, 585 E. 31 St., Durango, CO 81301 (800/578-5904).

We heard from Jose Knighton, the manager of Back of Beyond Books in Moab, Utah, who said we'd made him suffer from déj`a vu. While reading Jon Margolis' WAAAAHH column Feb. 20 about public-land ranchers forming a militia, he recalled a letter he'd sent in 1989 to Jim Stiles' Zephyr monthly newspaper. It mocked a group called the Western Association of Land Users, which was busily fighting any reform of the 1872 Mining Law.

Knighton wrote that the first syllable of the group's acronym, WALU, was sure to be pronounced WAAAA, and seemed appropriate to the group's refusal to be weaned from federal largesse. "Quick, pass the burp rag!" wrote Knighton, who concludes in his letter: "Can't say the issues have changed much in five years."

And in the Small World Department, C.S. McConnell, from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, tells us in his two years of subscribing to High Country News, he has read the names of contributors to the HCN Research Fund and only once "failed to find the name of someone I know, or know of."


Apologies to two writers whose names we either mangled or omitted: Christopher Shelton (not Skelton), who wrote the Hotline March 6 about the Bridger-Teton Forest's road closures, and Anders Halverson, who wrote the Roundup March 20 on Kennetech's controversial plans for a wind farm in Carbon County, Wyo.


It must be spring; readers are beginning to drop in. Steven Moore, from Arbules, Colo., told us he was going to start work in Moab, Utah, for the Canyonlands Field Institute. Mary McCracken and Sallie Williams, both from LaGrande, Ore., came through on a bike trip from the Aspen-Ashcroft area; and a Stiles family foursome filled us in on their busy lives: Freelance writer Shelley, from Buskirk, N.Y., has just created a native plants exhibit for display at the mall in Washington, D.C., her brother Tom is the president of the Aspen Professional Ski Patrol Association, a union group. They were visiting their parents, Maxine, a stalwart of the town's visitor's center in nearby Montrose, Colo., and Harry, a former manager of refuges for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

We also chatted with Dan Gram, a contractor from Cuttingsville, Vt., and later with Luther Propst, from the Sonoran Institute in Tucscon, Ariz., who was on his way to Moab, Utah, to talk with a diverse group about the future of the Colorado Plateau.


For several years, this paper has been searching for a replacement for Andrew Melnykovich, who served with great distinction as our Washington, D.C., columnist, even as he managed to write a few articles now and again for his employer, the Casper Star-Tribune. Now we have found our answer: Nancy Shute, who is a long-time D.C. resident, writer, and HCN reader. Her second column for HCN is in this issue, on the subject of the well-thought-out changes occurring in the House of Representatives.

There's still time

Now is the time for those who want to get in a final word on the Bureau of Reclamation's long-awaited environmental impact statement for the operation of Glen Canyon Dam. BuRec released its final EIS March 22, and a 30-day comment period concludes April 21.

Biologists and environmentalists say the latest plan is less protective of the environment than the draft as the preferred alternative increases the "ramping rate" for the dam, the speed at which water releases from the dam can be changed to meet power demands. The change could hurt endangered fish and increase erosion of beaches, they say.

For a copy of the final EIS or to comment, write the Bureau of Reclamation, Attention: Colorado River Studies Office, 125 South State St., Room 6107, Salt Lake City, UT 84138-1102 (801/524-5479).

* Betsy Marston for the staff