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High Country News - Current Issue

  • Drought drains the West

    A look at the weather throughout the West shows lower-than-usual snowpacks and a lot of drought, making life hard for farmers and fish, and leading to fears of another fierce wildfire season.

  • County unveils pioneering protection plan

    Tucson's innovative Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan will protect hundreds of thousands of acres of virgin desert while still allowing newcomers to build on less environmentally sensitive land.

  • Shoring up wetlands protection

    The Bush administration says it will stand by Clinton's "Tulloch Rule," which requires a permit for using earthmovers to excavate wetlands.

  • The latest bounce

    Neal McCaleb to head BIA; Bush won't challenge Yellowstone's ban on snowmobiles; Jet Skis may be banned from 21 national parks; Utah joins legal challenge to roadless plan; Telluride condemns land to save it from development.

  • Can Mr. Nice Guy lead the Forest Service?

    Newly appointed Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth is generally liked and respected by agency colleagues, timber advocates and environmentalists, although some greens worry that he may not stand firm in the face of pressure from the Bush administration.

  • Tribes scale salmon harvest

    The Yakama, Nez Perce, Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes have agreed to a new system, under which their annual take of salmon will be based on a sliding scale that adjusts to wild salmon returns.

  • Back into the woods

    In the wake of last summer's devastating Western wildfires, the Forest Service is trying to figure out how to restore the unhealthy, doghair, fire-prone forests created by a century of fire suppression and indiscriminate logging.

  • Plan protects foresters, not fish

    Washington state's much-hyped "Forests and Fish" plan is being criticized by scientists, environmentalists, fishermen and tribes as a sell-out to the timber industry likely to hasten the salmon's decline.

  • Islands hung out to dry

    Idaho irrigators are relieved that water rights have been denied for the 94 islands in the Snake River that make up the Deer Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Slapping back at SLAPPs

    A bill designed to protect citizens from frivolous lawsuits called SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) was defeated in Colorado's state Senate, but its sponsor plans to try again.

  • Debate roars over quiet canyon

    Environmentalists say new rules restricting helicopter and airplane flights in the Grand Canyon still aren't enough to restore quiet, even as air-tour operators react with anger and lawsuits.

  • Company leaves victims in its dust

    In Libby, Mont., residents who are sick or dying of exposure to asbestos from W.R. Grace's vermiculite mine are outraged by the company's decision to file for bankruptcy in the face of their lawsuits.

  • Microwaveable wilderness

    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and Wilderness Watch are challenging a microwave repeater tower in Death Valley National Park that was put up without any environmental assessment.

  • Monument status could wreck ruins

    Archaeologists fear that without more funds to manage tourism, the ruins in newly designated Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Colo., will suffer from increased visitors.

  • The latest bounce

    Idaho can't kill sage grouse predators; Colo. coyote-killing study stopped; Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.) against drilling on public land near Jackson; Interior/Treasury must account for lost Indian monies; Sen. Slade Gorton may become federal judge.

  • Roadless rule hits the skids

    The Bush administration is working to revise and weaken Clinton's roadless area conservation rules for national forests.

  • Monuments caught in the crosshairs

    Under the new administration of George W. Bush, Republicans seek to open Clinton's new national monuments to oil and gas exploration and other uses and to revise the way monuments are created.

  • An unabashed moralist bows out

    Longtime, controversial New Mexico activist Sam Hitt retires from Forest Guardians to write a book.

  • The Big Blowup

    A historian of fire recalls the "Big Blowup" of 1910, an explosion of wildfire in Idaho that took 78 lives, made a hero of ranger Ed Pulaski, and helped to share a century of fire policy on the national forests.

  • After the fires, Part I

    An introduction to this issue's lead story and the next talks about the need for changes in the Forest Service's fire policy, especially in the West.

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