Heard around the West
Did you think intellectual activity at the Forest Service is strangled with red tape? Then you've never heard them on the subject of wilderness golf. Forest Service employee Wendy Keeler recently sent an e-mail about her encounter with a group of families in the midst of a friendly golf tournament in the middle of a Colorado wilderness. "It has been an annual event for the families involved for about 15 years," she wrote. Keeler added the golfers were complying with all the wilderness area's rules, but the tournament presented her with a philosophical problem.
Within two days, 22 messages had come in from more than a dozen of her peers. A few excerpts follow:
Could a person be busted for "being in the wilderness with the intent to play golf?"
"As long as no resource damage is occurring, go do something important!'
"How "bout: they can play if they use the archaic versions of the equipment - I'm sure that someone around St. Andrews could show them what they would use."
"I could bet big $$ that this wasn't what Howard Zahniser had in mind when he fought for 8 years for the Wilderness Act."
"I'm not saying this because I'm a golfer ... but I wonder if there would have been a problem if the folks had been playing hacky-sack?"
"Because it is not a common activity in wilderness does not mean that it is automatically an inappropriate use. This is called "freedom." "
"I guess I don't even understand why this is an issue ... It doesn't sound any more destructive than pitching a tent or carrying a gun or running 1,000 head of cattle."
"By the way, what is the date of the tournament?"
The golfers aren't the only renegades running loose in the West.
There's Carlene Kauer of Rigby, Idaho, who drove her car through five different properties, jumped seven ditches and damaged various fences and irrigation pipes before stopping at the home of Bud Leslie of Salmon. At 5:30 a.m., she was sitting at Leslie's kitchen table wearing nothing but a T-shirt.
"Who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my house?" yelled Leslie, according to the Salmon Recorder Herald. Kauer replied she had been sent by the Lord to save his soul because he is an angry man.
"The more this woman said this, the angrier Bud got," noted Bud's wife, Gayla.
Speaking of angry men, it should be noted that former Durango Mayor Jeff Morrissey's rudeness to two women whose car sported a bumpersticker critical of the Animas-La Plata water project (HCN, 11/11/96), was apparently not an isolated episode.
In a letter to the Durango Herald, David Eckenrode recalls a close encounter he had with Morrissey and U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell on a downtown street corner. After Eckenrode related his unfavorable opinion of the project, Campbell told him that he changed parties in part because the Democrats hounded him about Animas-La Plata. Morrissey followed that up with advice to Eckenrode to "grow up and get a clue" and to "get a job!" When Eckenrode suggested that both the ex-mayor and ex-Democrat read what is widely considered the bible on Western water, Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner, Morrissey said, "I wipe my **** with that book!'
Women don't get mad, they get lawyers. In Winter Park, Colorado, housekeeper Tammara Keisler, a self-described California "surfer girl," didn't mind working up to 96 hours a week cleaning rooms at the ritzy Colorado Arlberg Club. But she didn't like it when the company pushed her too far. They fired her last March, not long before the season's end. They said it was for tardiness and insubordination; she suspected it was so they could avoid shelling out the bonus she was entitled to for sticking it out for the whole season. So she sued the club and won, reports Westword. The court ordered the Arlberg to pay her $2,100 - nearly $700 more than they had owed her in the first place.
Heard around the West invites readers to get involved in the column. Send any tidbits that merit sharing - small-town newspaper clips, personal anecdotes, relevant bumpersticker slogans. The definition remains loose. Heard, HCN, Box 1090, Paonia, CO 81428 or firstname.lastname@example.org