By now, you should have received our reader survey and spring fund-raising appeal for the Research Fund, which helps to pay our writers, photographers and artists, among other things. Please complete the survey (and return it to us in the postage-paid envelope). And please consider including a donation to support our work – we need to raise $150,000 by the end of June to cover the ongoing costs of bringing you HCN. The staff thanks you for your help!

Away from the Xbox, into the woods
How do we mobilize Generation Y to participate in recreation, parks and conservation activities? Two of our interns, Terray Sylvester and Jeff  Chen, will be sharing their thoughts on the issue as guest bloggers at a National Recreation & Parks Association Web event. On April 13 & 14, check out
http://nrpablog.typepad.com/policy/ to chime in.

Spring snow, winter visitors

"The ritual Death of the Fruit Tree Blossoms began toward the end of every March when, after a long hard winter, warm air coursed lovingly into the Miracle Valley, leading all the fruit trees to believe spring was just around the corner. And, believing this, their sap began running, their buds grew fat, their branches suddenly burst forth into flowers. … Whereupon, inevitably … there ensued a final week of frost and frequently snow that turned into blizzards … and all the fruit tree blossoms were killed and the subsequent summer came and went without so much as a boo! from a single pear, apple or plum."

--John Nichols, The Milagro Beanfield War


Nichols was writing about a New Mexico town, but his lament describes Paonia, HCN's mountain valley hometown, just as well. Spring is arriving in fits and starts here, and last week's 75-degree days were chased by a frigid storm that dropped a few inches of snow -- and nipped all the early apricot blossoms.

At least we got to breathe their perfume for a few days, as did subscribers Paul Jones and his wife, Lisa Kahn, who came to see us with daughters Kalia and Elena, and locals Bob and Pauline Dennison. Paul is a metal sculptor and Lisa works for the Denver EPA office. They came from Louisville, Colo., to do some spring skiing.

Rick Accomazzo and son David dropped by the office earlier this winter, on their way to nearby Telluride to snowboard. Rick, from Boulder, Colo., was one of the founders of the Access Fund, a group that works to keep public lands open to rock climbers. David had just graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a journalism degree. The prospect of failing newspapers and magazines across the country didn't seem to faze him. Ah, the optimism of youth.

In February, Katrina Blair came from Durango, Colo., with friend Hiroki Ide of nearby Silverton. Katrina is the founder of the Turtle Lake Refuge in Durango, whose mission is to "celebrate the connection between personal health and wild lands." Her new cookbook, Local Wild Life, includes recipes for dandelion pesto, yucca pudding, and other Colorado Plateau delights. (See www.turtlelakerefuge.org.)

Clarification, correction

In the March 16/March 30 issue, Laura Pritchett's essay "Blacktop Universe" was excerpted from the upcoming anthology Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers and Dumpster Divers, published by the University of Oklahoma Press. Also in that issue, a photo of urban kids at Cascade Pass in Washington state was actually taken at Washington Pass, also in the Cascade Range. Yes, it's confusing; we just hope their bus driver knew where they were.