Magazine
Going Big

September 18, 2006

Mountain bikers are finally winning respect, along with increased access to trails, but a growing breed of gonzo riders with heavy, fast, high-tech bikes — and a thirst for riding in wilderness — could threaten all that. Also in this issue: National pundits say the nation’s political parties are moving toward the extremes, but in the West, Republicans — unhappy with some far-right politicians — seem to be heading back to the middle.

Feature

Going Big
Mountain bikers are finally winning respect, along with increased access to trails, but a growing breed of gonzo riders with heavy, fast, high-tech bikes -- and a thirst for riding in wilderness – could threaten all that.

Editor's Note

Leave the wheels out of wilderness
As enjoyable as mountain biking is, bikes simply don’t belong in the wilderness, partly because the faster you travel through a place, the smaller – and tamer – that place begins to seem.

Uncommon Westerners

A pilgrim with a battered Nikon
Albuquerque photojournalist Jaelyn deMaria has devoted the last few years to documenting the pilgrims who come to the shrine of Monte Cristo Rey on the United States-Mexico border near El Paso.

Essays

The memory of mountains
The author remembers a long-ago hike up Pikes Pike with her mother, who later died having no memory of that hike, or of her daughter.

Writers on the Range

Is the great federal land debate over?
Two trends are almost as dangerous as the idea of directly selling off the public lands: land transfers done in the name of economic development, and the outsourcing of jobs in the federal land-management agencies.
Undoing the myth of Western exceptionalism
California’s decision to tackle global warming is a sign that the West is finally growing up enough to realize that it is not an "exceptional" place, entirely detached from the rest of the modern world.

Dear Friends

Dear friends
New fall interns Fletcher Jacobs and Evan Tea; remembering Sierra Club’s Larry Mehlhaff; visitors.

News

Fractures on the right
National pundits say the nation’s political parties are moving toward the extremes, but in the West, Republicans – unhappy with some far-right politicians – seem to be heading back to the middle.
Will Montanans reject their bagman?
Even Montanans critical of Sen. Conrad Burns admit he’s a genius at bringing home the pork – a fact that may make it harder for his Democratic challenger, Jon Tester, in the November election.
Ballot box hangover
Even as Oregon tries to deal with the chaos of Measure 37, which overturned the state’s old land-use regulations, "The Big Look," an attempt to revive and re-create planning laws, is quietly under way.
Duke City dustup
The nation may be intrigued by the contest between incumbent Republican Rep. Heather Wilson and New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid, but the New Mexicans who will actually vote in the election seem fairly disinterested.
Unpaved with good intentions
A new breed of land trusts seeks not merely to preserve undeveloped landscape, but to keep it in agricultural use – particularly in organic farming.
Running on empty in Sin City
Although many rural Nevadans are unhappy with Las Vegas’ plans for a giant groundwater project, the six other states that rely on water from the Colorado River are hoping the Nevada project goes ahead.

Book Reviews

Hits and missives from Cactus Ed
In Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast, David Petersen assembles some of the correspondence of Western writer Edward Abbey into an eminently readable but ultimately unenlightening collection.

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Pretending to be an illegal immigrant; Olympia’s gangsta raccoons; advice on selling Bibles door-to-door; peculiar – and pricey – ads in Colorado; Snakes on the Ground are scaring folks in Arizona.

Letters

Two Weeks in the West

Two weeks in the West
Bush cuts EPA library budget; BLM admits failure to protect air quality and wildlife around Pinedale, Wyo., gas fields; California announces perchlorate limits for drinking water; Grand Junction, Colo., passes ordinance against drilling
A little wild
Percentage of federally owned land and wilderness in Western states
Energy Colonizes the West
Acres leased for drilling in the West