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In search of the Glory Days December 23, 2002

In search of the Glory Days

Twenty years after its longtime mainstay, the Climax Molybdenum Mine, closed, Leadville, Colo., is still groping for a secure economy and a new identity. Also in this issue: The Forest Service has announced a major overhaul of the forest planning process that some fear may cut out both environmental oversight and public involvement, and lead to even more legal gridlock.

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Life in the wasteland December 09, 2002

Life in the wasteland

Eureka, Utah, unearths a toxic legacy just as its only hope for rescue, the federal Superfund cleanup program, blows away. Also in this issue: Thousands of park and forest jobs could go to private contractors.

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Planning's poster child grows up November 25, 2002

Planning's poster child grows up

As Oregon cities hit their urban growth boundaries, some say it's time to look at the 30-year old rules that govern development. Also in this issue: Congress may have turned to the right, but enviros claim victory at the state level.

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Behind the gate November 11, 2002

Behind the gate

The "Real West" at the touch of an access code? A look into the fortified rural retreats of the West's moneyed elite. Also in this issue: Hanford bomb factory's hard-to-reach radioactive dregs might stay where they are.

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Shadow Creatures October 28, 2002

Shadow Creatures

Tenacious animals like crows and coyotes have made a home for themselves in the suburbs - and even downtown areas - of places like Seattle and Phoenix. Can we make cities friendlier for less-adaptable species? Also in this issue: Hunters turn out in record numbers as Colorado tries to figure out just how serious the chronic wasting disease outbreak is.

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Democrats kick back: The politics of growth October 14, 2002

Democrats kick back: The politics of growth

After a decade and a half without reasonable or effective leadership,Arizona has become the West's most incompetently run state, its politics propelled almost entirely by growth. This year's gubernatorial election offers a chance for change. Also in this issue: The 1994 Northwest Forest Plan was seen as a watershed move to balance logging with environmental protection. But logging companies say the plan's controversial species-management provision has put too much land off-limits, and now the Bush administration is moving to relax the rules.

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Delta Blues September 30, 2002

Delta Blues

California's sprawling San Joaquin-Sacramento river delta has been mercilessly shaped by agriculture and water-development projects. A massive $8.7 billion plan holds hope for restoring the Delta and helping sate California's growing thirst, but political infighting and a lack of funding have clouded the project's future. Also in this issue: In central New Mexico's Sandia and Manzano mountains, drought, hunting and traffic accidents have cut black bear populations in half. But for the second year in the row, the state's Department of Game and Fish has extended the bear hunting season.

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The Royal Squeeze September 16, 2002

The Royal Squeeze

For nearly a century, the Imperial Valley's wastewater has kept the Salton Sea alive. Now, the push to make California more watertight may threaten this wildlife haven - and Imperial's agricultural economy. Also in this issue: The San Juan Basin, on the New Mexico-Colorado border, has long been an oil and gas hotspot. It's about to get hotter: A new BLM management plan could add nearly 10,000 new wells over the next 20 years.

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Backlash September 02, 2002


As a new boom in coalbed methane gas drilling hits the West, some counties are taking on industry-friendly state regulating agencies and demanding that gas companies listen to local concerns. Also in this issue: EPA chief Christie Whitman and Idaho Sen. Larry Craig dipped champagne glasses in Idaho's Lake Coeur d'Alene and toasted the newly-created commission tasked with cleaning up mining waste in the lake. But the Coeur d'Alene Tribe wants the problem to be taken seriously.

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The Great Western Apocalypse August 19, 2002

The Great Western Apocalypse

The drought of 2002 has left the West blistered and burnt, scientists predict worse to come. Have we learned anything yet? Also in this issue: This year's drought has killed 10,000 cattle and ravaged the range. But corruption and resentment over earlier attempts to control grazing are stifling reform just when it's needed most.

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Land or money? August 05, 2002

Land or money?

After generations of struggle, the Western Shoshone decide in a divisive election to accept land settlement payments from the federal government in lieu of the tribe's ancestral lands, which one spanned the Great Basin.

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The anatomy of fire July 08, 2002

The anatomy of fire

A visit to the biggest forest fire in Colorado history -- the Hayman Fire -- and time spent with some of those battling it leads the author to speculate on the mystery and complexity of humanity's relationship with fire.

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The buzz business June 24, 2002

The buzz business

The problem of controlling Africanized bees is now widespread, and some are taking advantage of the frightening invasion to earn a good living.

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Hatching reform June 10, 2002

Hatching reform

With 15 runs of salmon federally listed as threatened or endangered, a conservation group, Long Live the Kings, hopes hatchery reform can help save wild stocks of fish.

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Wolf at the door May 27, 2002

Wolf at the door

Wolves have been restored in the Northern Rockies, but their conflict with civilization now prompts wildlife managers to face some agonizing decisions about the animal's future.

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Beyond ecology: Restoring a cultural landscape May 13, 2002

Beyond ecology: Restoring a cultural landscape

Inhabiting a parcel of land in Montana's Bitterroot Valley demands a specific responsibility, according to the writer, who attempts ecological restoration on his piece of ground, to help bring back the West's rich biological diversity.

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The Great Salt Lake Mystery April 29, 2002

The Great Salt Lake Mystery

The brine-shrimp industry of Great Salt Lake has helped put that misunderstood ecosystem under a microscope; can the lake be saved from its history of abuse and a rapidly increasing population around it?

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Raising a stink April 15, 2002

Raising a stink

When the dairy industry invades rural Idaho, communities face the dilemma of what to do with the waste cows produce. The huge dairy operations are contaminating local air and water.

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Move over! Will snowmobile tourism relax its grip on a gateway town? April 01, 2002

Move over! Will snowmobile tourism relax its grip on a gateway town?

In West Yellowstone, Mont., where snowmobile tourism is a mainstay of the economy, locals are split between fierce supporters of the industry and those who favor a little more quiet and a measure of control.

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How I lost my town March 18, 2002

How I lost my town

The author remembers his early days in a small Colorado mountain town, and ponders the economic and social changes that have slowly turned "Mendicant Mountain" into a bustling, expensive ski resort.

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Seed in the ground March 04, 2002

Seed in the ground

On South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation, some Oglala Lakota are defying the federal government to grow industrial hemp, hoping that it can help to revitalize both the tribe's economy and its government.

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Here lies the Rio Grande February 18, 2002

Here lies the Rio Grande

The last issue of the "Imagine a River" series on the Rio Grande examines how the river has become the "Rio Wimpy," running out of water twice before it reaches the Gulf of Mexico.

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Last dance for the sage grouse? February 04, 2002

Last dance for the sage grouse?

Across the Interior West, as the sagebrush sea recedes under the environmental stress of human impacts, its emblematic bird, the sage grouse, is also in decline, and no one seems to know what to do about it.

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Finding the words January 21, 2002

Finding the words

Across the West, Native Americans are working to revive vanishing tribal languages, using their elders and language-immersion schools to try to gain fluent speakers.

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Bad moon rising December 17, 2001

Bad moon rising

Back in the '70s, Montana led the way in progressive environmental legislation, but now with its economy faltering, those laws are being eviscerated, and environmentalists need to find a new strategy.

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