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The Asphalt Graveyard February 07, 2005

The Asphalt Graveyard

A personal obsession leads the author into a world of scientists, wildlife rehabilitators and eccentric artists who are fascinated by the West’s road-killed wildlife. Also in this issue: Some of the less-publicized political appointments of George W. Bush’s second term will have a huge effect on the West – particularly the people who will direct the EPA, and the departments of Energy, Agriculture and the Interior.

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Written in the Rings January 24, 2005

Written in the Rings

The study of tree rings opens a window into the West’s distant past, and warns us that the region’s future may be dangerously hot and dry. Also in this issue: As the Colorado River Basin enters its sixth year of drought, the seven states that rely on the river for water are forced to work together on a new plan for water use.

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Stand Your Ground December 20, 2004

Stand Your Ground

Under increasing political pressure from the Bush administration and its appointees, some agency scientists are finding it difficult to keep both their jobs and their integrity. Also in this issue: The omnibus appropriations bill just passed by Congress contained more than a few anti-environmental riders, but not all of them survived for the president’s pen to sign.

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Where Do We Go From Here? December 06, 2004

Where Do We Go From Here?

HCN lays out the West's 10 most critical issues and the paths toward positive results on everything from energy development and drought to federal agency practices and endangered species. Also in this issue: A judge rules against a plan to salvage-log old-growth forest from the Timbered Rock Fire in Oregon, and some say the ruling could affect other proposed fire sales in old-growth forests.

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Conservationist in a Conservative Land November 22, 2004

Conservationist in a Conservative Land

Rick Johnson of the Idaho Conservation League is working with Republican Congressman Mike Simpson on a wilderness bill for the Boulder and White Cloud mountains, but not everybody in "Planet Idaho" is happy with the bill. Also in this issue: Many of the people who supported George Bush, a president with an anti-environmental record, also voted for environmental ballot measures and green-leaning candidates.

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Keepers of the Flame November 08, 2004

Keepers of the Flame

A new generation of fire managers works with fire, rather than just fighting it. Also in this issue: Ski bums try to survive in Ketchum, Idaho; the Sierras get a conservancy, and a river gnaws away at a tribal reservation

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Window Shopping: Part-Time Paradise October 25, 2004

Window Shopping: Part-Time Paradise

Aspen, Colo., and other mountain resort towns burst with wealthy baby boomers' second, third and even fourth homes. But for much of the year those houses sit empty, and the towns are turning hollow Also in this issue: The Bush administration halts three gas wells on Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, and tosses a few more election-year bones to environmentalists and hunters.

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The First Family of Western Conservation October 11, 2004

The First Family of Western Conservation

Stewart Udall and his brother, Mo, were conservation icons in the 1950s and ‘60s, but their sons – Rep. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Rep. Mark Udall of Colorado – face a harder fight in today’s Congress, where Democrats are the minority and conservation has become controversial. Also in this issue: The Bush administration’s new salmon plan treats dams as a natural part of the landscape, and sees a recovery plan as more important than actual species recovery.

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Life After Old Growth September 27, 2004

Life After Old Growth

The battle over Northwestern old-growth forests is raging again, but behind the scenes, some locals are trying to make peace. Also in this issue: In Wyoming, Gov. Dave Freudenthal tries to put the brakes on the oil and gas leasing rush, but the drilling frenzy continues across the West.

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When a Boom is a Bust September 13, 2004

When a Boom is a Bust

Wamsutter, Wyo., is a boomtown these days, but the town is struggling to be a real community, instead of just a barracks for the natural gas industry. Also in this issue: In Colorado and elsewhere in the West, the fear of West Nile Virus brings the controversy about spraying pesticides to a boil.

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How Long Will it Flow? August 30, 2004

How Long Will it Flow?

In Sierra Vista, Ariz., a partnership of developers, environmentalists and government agencies is trying to keep the San Pedro River alive, while at the same time allowing for continued growth in this burgeoning Sunbelt city. Also in this issue, Assistant Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett wants Congress to give the Bureau of Land Management increased incentive to sell off more public lands.

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Journey of Rediscovery August 16, 2004

Journey of Rediscovery

For all the heroism of their achievement, Lewis and Clark would not have survived long without the help of the many Indian peoples they encountered in the West. The Bush administration says governors have 18 months to ask the Forest Service to protect roadless areas in their states, but the states will have to pay for the costly and complex petition process.

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The Greening of the Plains August 02, 2004

The Greening of the Plains

A conservation movement is stirring on the Great Plains, but local farmers are stuck with a harsh reality: It still pays to plow up virgin prairie. The Forest Service plans to rein in cross-country travel by off-road vehicles, but enforcing new rules may prove next to impossible.

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They're Here: Global Warming's Unlikely Harbingers July 19, 2004

They're Here: Global Warming's Unlikely Harbingers

Mountain pine beetles are attacking more forests and more varieties of trees — and thriving at higher elevations than ever before — and some scientists believe global climate change is at the root of the problem. Also in this issue: A recent Supreme Court ruling in a Utah wilderness lawsuit will limit the ability of citizens to sue the government over how its agencies manage natural resources.

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A Walk Between Worlds June 21, 2004

A Walk Between Worlds

On a 10-day walk through the northwestern New Mexico desert, the author follows an ancient road that leads him from silent Indian ruins into noisy, modern gas fields. Also in this issue: Land managers have been talking about letting more wildfires burn, but the recent blowup of the Peppin Fire near Capitan, N.M. – home of Smokey Bear – leads to renewed talk of aggressive fire suppression.

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Wal-Mart's Manifest Destiny June 07, 2004

Wal-Mart's Manifest Destiny

Wal-Mart wants to build more giant Supercenter stores in the West, but communities like Inglewood, Calif., are starting to take a stand against the world’s largest company. Also in this issue: Even the National Rifle Association came out in support of a Tucson, Ariz., open-space saving bond, which passed in a landslide despite complaints from critics that it was just pork.

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In Search of Solidarity May 24, 2004

In Search of Solidarity

Some activists hope that the current hard times facing both workers and the environment will resurrect the strong alliances that once existed between greens and labor unions. Also in this issue: NOAA Fisheries is drafting new regulations that will allow hatchery-raised fish to be counted along with wild salmon and steelhead, a move that property-rights lawyers hope will take the species off the endangered list.

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Shooting Spree May 10, 2004

Shooting Spree

The West’s environmentalist lawyers are manning the legal barricades, as the Bush administration stealthily attacks the nation’s bedrock environmental laws. Also in this issue: Arizona activists team up with Rep. Raul Grijalva to create a small-scale wilderness proposal for the Tumacacori Highlands.

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Outsourced April 26, 2004


The Bush administration is outsourcing to private contractors jobs formerly done by employees of federal agencies, among them the job of the Forest Service Content Analysis Teams (CATs) – the people who receive and report the comments of the public. The team was sacked, many say to the detriment of the public connection, and with increased cost to taxpayers. Also in this issue: Controversial energy bill, to increase domestic oil and gas drilling and force federal agencies to expedite permits for energy projects on public lands, came back yet again, but was defeated in the Senate, 50-47.

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The One-Party West April 12, 2004

The One-Party West

With the Interior West almost exclusively Republican territory, "Democrats for the West," a coalition of leaders, have issued a challenge to fellow Democrats to create sustainable Democratic majorities. Also in this issue: While mountain lions receive bad press for what some say is increasing aggression against humans, experts say that humans may be the real problem. Lion killing in most Western states is increasing, and biologists say no state has ever had a sound population estimate for the animals. Without sound data, politics often plays into determining hunting quotas.

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Who Will Take Over the Ranch? March 29, 2004

Who Will Take Over the Ranch?

As private lands become the new frontier in the West’s wild real estate frenzy, ranchers are turning to land trusts in places like Gunnison, Colo., to find out how to hold on to their land and keep it open and undeveloped. Also in this issue: California decides to set its own new "public health goal" for perchlorate contamination, but critics point out that it is both legally unenforceable and lower than the previous goal.

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The New Water Czars March 15, 2004

The New Water Czars

In Arizona, a historic water deal could give the tiny, impoverished Gila River Indian Community a path back to its farming roots – and turn it into one of the West’s next big power brokers. Also in this issue: Western ranchers rejoice when a federal court jury finds that the nation’s largest meatpacker, Tyson/IBP, has illegally squeezed $1.28 billion from independent cattle producers.

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The Last Open Range March 01, 2004

The Last Open Range

Wyoming’s Green Mountain Common Allotment is one of the West’s last big, wide-open landscapes – but these days, ranchers, environmentalists, history buffs and the BLM are arguing over whether it’s time to start putting up fences. Also in this issue: Nearly a decade after Imperial Valley irrigators fought off a water grab by Texans Ed and Lee Bass, the Imperial Valley Irrigation District buys the old Bass property, Western Farms, and the water rights that come with it.

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Courting Disaster February 16, 2004

Courting Disaster

A right-wing coup is under way in the nation’s courts, which George W. Bush is stacking with anti-environmental judges, and the impacts on Western conservation issues are not going to be pretty. Also in this issue: National Park Service wilderness coordinator Jim Walters resigns in frustration over the agency’s neglect of wilderness, after the superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks allows helicopters in wilderness areas.

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Mending the Nets February 02, 2004

Mending the Nets

Port Orford, Ore., is working hard to create a new kind of community-based, sustainable fisheries management for the over-fished ocean. Also in this issue: Environmentalists and immigration activists have a few doubts about President Bush’s proposed immigration reform policy.

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