Dear friends

  • Great Basin interns Ernie Thompson, left, and Eric Martin

    Kit Miller
  Odds and ends


HCN couldn't live without the U.S. Postal Service, but at times we wonder if we can live with it. On Dec. 26, 1993, we mailed notes, via Third Class mail, to readers in Boulder, 250 miles away, inviting them to the Jan. 21 potluck. Bill Doud of Boulder tells us that his invitation arrived on Jan. 21.


We send best wishes to former intern Dave Frey, recently hired as a general assignment reporter for the Glenwood Post, the newspaper that prints High Country News. Former intern Dan Egan tells us he has just been hired by the Idaho Falls Post-Register to cover education.


Kim Carson, a 15-year-old at Galena High School in Reno, Nev., writes that she has been reading HCN in her classes since she was 13. "It has helped me become more aware of the serious environmental issues facing the world today."


Readers Lori Rose and Randy Aton, of Springdale, Utah, wrote to clarify a Bulletin Board brief published Dec. 27 on the draft environmental assessment for Zion National park. They say that the preferred alternative would limit passenger vehicles only in the overly popular portion of park which turns off Star Route 9 into the main Zion Canyon.





"This section of roadway, a scenic seven-mile dead end, which terminates at the popular Gateway to the Narrows trail, is currently so crowded with vehicles during most of the year that it has led to numerous complaints by visitors." The proposed plan, the letter writers say, would protect the park from being visited to death.


Congratulations to environmental writer Michael Frome on receiving his Ph.D. from the Union Institute. Frome has several books to his credit, including Conscience of a Conservationist. His doctoral paper studied public support for wilderness. Frome teaches at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.


Finally, there is still time to comment on the backcountry plan for Utah's Canyonlands National Park, a place of extreme beauty and increasing popularity (HCN, 2/7/04). Due to "overwhelming interest," the Park Service has extended its comment period until March. Write Canyonlands National Park, Southeast Utah Group, 125 W. 200 South, Moab, UT 84532.





Visitors in winter


Wren Wirth passed through Paonia on her way from Crested Butte to Telluride for an evening of Democratic politics. Her husband, former Sen. Tim Wirth, D-Colo., is now with the Department of State.


Medical student Carla Fenton and planner Jeff Gersh, both of the Denver area, stopped to say hello.





Junque Mail


High Country News just "dropped" (that's the jargon) 100,000 pieces of direct mail, in search of 1,000 (that's the way direct mail works) new subscribers. The 100,000 letters tell the story of two people. Both are enthusiastic about the West, but only one subscribes to HCN.


The non-subscriber eventually loses interest in the West. But the HCN subscriber's "bonds to the West strengthened. Even after the allure of hiking through rain and mud and sleeping on the ground faded, this person's love of the West stayed strong."


One recipient of this letter, Gerd von Glinski, wrote to ask: "Why should the allure of hiking through mud and sleeping on the ground fade?"


An excellent question.





A new bureau


Former intern Ernie Atencio, a graduate student at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, is now a one-person, one-day-a-week bureau for High Country News. He can be reached at 602/526-0787.





New interns, Nevada


The two new interns at the HCN Great Basin regional editor's office near Carson City, Nev., already know the territory. Ernie Thompson grew up in Dayton less than 10 miles away. He spent his childhood wandering through the canyon, but mercury contamination from silver and gold mining on the Comstock also loomed large. The river is now a Superfund site. "Being told not to eat the fish I caught was mystifying," he says, "and introduced a strange dimension to what I thought nature was."


Ernie has a degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno. Last summer, he worked for The Nature Conservancy in southeastern Oregon searching waterways and irrigation ditches for the Warner sucker, a threatened native fish.


Eric Martin grew up in Bishop, Calif., 130 miles south of the office but still within the Great Basin. After graduating from California State University at Chico in 1988, with a degree in English and creative writing, he worked as a whitewater rafting guide in California and New Zealand. Then a year ago, he trained as a paramedic. He now teaches swift-water rescue classes during the spring and summer rafting season in the Sierra.


The Great Basin regional office can be reached at 6205 Franktown Road, Carson City, NV 89704 (702/882-6361).








" Betsy Marston for the staff