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High Country News April 30, 2012


A Mexican rancher struggles to shift from cattle to conservation

In Northwest Mexico, rancher Carlos Robles Elías works hard to make his Rancho El Aribabi into an oasis of biodiversity, despite the challenges of a sagging economy and rampant drug cartel violence.


Arizona's clean-election law is pruned, but not uprooted

Clean-elections laws have a way of withering away, especially since the Supreme Court's controversial Citizens United ruling, but Arizona is still struggling to keep political campaigns fair.

A literary organization tackles California gang violence

The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, Calif., is honoring the Nobel Prize-winning author by helping at-risk youth in the community he wrote about.

Balancing fish and farms on a Washington estuary

A restoration effort at Fisher Slough in Washington's Skagit River Delta has encouraged cooperation between farmers and environmentalists - and might even help endangered chinook salmon.

Low snowpack means a dry summer for the West

A map shows Western snowpacks as of April 1, 2012, and notes record-breaking heat and dry weather in the Southwest.

Editor's Note

Mexico’s conservationists keep fighting the good fight

Despite a constant lack of money and the threat of drug-cartel violence, dedicated border conservationists work to preserve the landscape they love.

Dear Friends

Visitors, books and brand-new babies

Spring brings visitors, some with new books; Katie Lee publishes an epic poem at the age of 92; writer Eric Wagner welcomes a daughter; corrections.

Book Reviews

Dispatches from the other border: A review of A Good Man

A Good Man -- the third novel in Guy Vanderhaeghe's U.S.-Canada border trilogy -- thoughtfully explores life in that region during the late 1800s.

New telling of a geologic saga: A review of Rough-Hewn Land

In Rough-Hewn Land: A Geologic Journey from California to the Rocky Mountains, Keith Heyer Meldahl brings the geography of the West to vivid life.


Imaginary journeys on a rowing machine

When a writer buys a rowing machine, her 3-year-old daughter's enthusiasm turns exercise into an adventure as they imagine rowing to reach the island of Yap in Micronesia.

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