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High Country News December 12, 2011


A tree-climber's tale of harvesting cones to save whitebark pines

As whitebark pines in the Northern Rockies succumb to pine beetles and blister rust, hardworking climbers defy gravity to collect pine cones from canopies to supply efforts to breed more resilient and resistant trees.


Land trusts thrive despite, and because of, the Great Recession

The recession has afforded a unique opportunity for land trusts to protect more of the West’s private open land through direct acquisitions and, increasingly, conservation easements.

Water-quality standards unfairly burden rural communities

The plight of a small water and sewer association in rural Mora, N.M -- caught in a tangle of federal and state clean water rules it can’t afford to meet -- echoes experienced by other rural communities around the West.

Did the Park Service bow to pressure from Coca Cola on its bottle ban?

A former Grand Canyon National Park superintendent believes that corporate pressure may have undermined a proposed ban on disposable water bottles in the park.

Tribes try selective fishing to boost catch without harming wild salmon

Washington's Colville Tribes experiment with selective fishing techniques and bring home more salmon than before.

The man beneath the hat: Ken Salazar's search for middle ground

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a twelfth-generation Latino-American, works politely and quietly but stubbornly to protect the West’s environment in polarized times.

Editor's Note

Environmentalists may have to take what they can get

Obama isn't the fierce environmental leader many hoped for, but some good things are happening despite right-wing opposition and the ongoing recession.


What is that dead deer thinking about, and why is he hanging there?

A close encounter with a deer head on the wall of an inn leads to musings on death, immortality, ancient Egypt, Lenin and Trigger the Wonder Horse.

Dear Friends

Vagabond visitors

Western wanderers pop into High Country News; a new book on Wyoming, On Sacred Ground, features HCN founder Tom Bell.

Book Reviews

California chronicles: A review of New California Writing: 2011

Editor Gayle Wattawa has assembled an anthology of essays in New California Writing: 2011 that should intrigue even people outside the Golden State.

A celebration of Cascadia: A review of Open Spaces: Voices from the Northwest

Open Spaces: Voices from the Northwest doesn't quite work as an anthology, but it features some intimate and thoughtful writing about the Pacific Northwest.

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