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Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Letters

Watts of memories

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Paul Larmer's comments about his early years in D.C., and how many lobbyists stayed connected with the West through High Country News, brought to mind my early years with the Bureau of Land Management (HCN, 5/2/11).  In the early '80s, as James Watt ascended to the position of Interior secretary, I got my first taste of HCN. I was the first and newly hired park manager of the Red Rock Canyon Recreation Lands -- now the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area -- in Las Vegas, and HCN circulated among employees. It was not openly circulated, as I recall. While it was probably a figment of my imagination that being seen as an HCN reader would get one a sideways glance from management, I nevertheless thought about it. It was an accepted fact in those times that Watt was checking into which employees might have membership in environmental organizations. And, of course, it was a real concern. News was circulating that Watt wanted to change the direction the bison faced in the Interior logo from left-facing to right-facing. We don't want no left-leaning greens at Interior!

Watt would have been quite upset to know how many HCN readers there were among us, and of the guffaws the proposed logo change drew from the people on the ground. I think these memories and the education I received from reading HCN early on is one reason why I am now an enthusiastic supporter of your Sustainers' Club.  
Thanks for the memories, Paul.

Rodger Schmitt
BLM National Recreation
Program Director, Retired
Port Townsend, Washingto

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