Eight members of the High Country News board of directors joined staff for a meeting in Fort Collins, Colo., Sept. 17-18. The main business was passing an annual budget, a task made easier by the tremendous financial support from readers during our 40th Anniversary. Despite the recession, HCN's reserve remains at nearly $500,000, about the amount of money we would owe readers in subscription refunds if HCN were to close shop tomorrow. (Don't worry, we aren't about to!) The new budget forecasts keeping the reserves at this level despite projections that our advertising revenue will stay depressed. We remain optimistic that many of our readers will continue to make donations beyond their regular subscription fees. Most of you should have received our fall Research Fund letter in the mail; we humbly thank you for any contribution you can make!
We also discussed the ongoing digital media revolution. Guest speaker Dennis Lewon, executive editor of Backpacker magazine, described how his organization has reorganized editorial staff into cross-platform teams that produce both online and print content. They frequently survey readers to find out what they want. Turns out one thing they want is mobile phone apps that can help them find and navigate great hiking trails. Though HCN has never been involved in selling travel information or gear, we are interested in using new technology to reach more readers. That's why we are currently exploring the world of mobile app development. Stay tuned for details.
Before ending the meeting for a 40th Anniversary bash (held at the lovely home of longtime readers Charlie Snider and Tara Parr near the Poudre River Canyon), the board voted to add Lou Patterson of Boulder, Colo., to its ranks. Lou is an avid outdoorsman who has spent his career as an executive and marketing consultant to outdoor retail and other companies. We are excited that Lou is bringing his business acumen and enthusiasm to High Country News.
The board also bid a fond adieu to three members who have decided to step down: Luther Propst, Tutti Skaar and Jesus De La Rosa. We thank them for their excellent guidance and encouragement in the areas of fund raising, financial management and diversity.
Former intern Zach Smith (summer '04) dropped into our Paonia, Colo., headquarters back in July to say hello en route from business to pleasure. He was working on water issues with land trusts in Cortez, Colo., then planned to do some rock climbing in Rifle, Colo. After his HCN internship, he got a law degree at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Now he's a staff attorney for Denver-based nonprofit Colorado Water Trust, which works to preserve instream flows in the state's rivers and streams.
Former Colorado residents Lisa McManigal and Dan Delaney spent a week vacationing in the North Fork Valley recently with their two kids, Patrick and Matthew. Before heading home to Newport Beach, Calif., they stopped by to rave about the valley's scenery, local food, and, well, lack of stoplights. Interested in green building and design, they hope to return soon, perhaps as local homeowners.