Editor's note

Solace and perspective in writings about the West
Solace and perspective in writings about the West
Western authors offer different lenses through which to understand our region.
Where is the forest-restoration economy?
Where is the forest-restoration economy?
The budget-starved Forest Service gives jobs to the lowest bidder instead of local communities.
Seeking economic health for small towns
Seeking economic health for small towns
A project looks at how communities are faring in rural New Mexico.
A chance for redemption
The lead essays in this issue find both darkness and hope in the times we live in, and in the reminder that all civilizations – including our own – eventually crumble and fall
Ballot-box democracy
The same kind of "ballot-box planning" that’s been used to control development in small towns like Paonia, Colo., is being manipulated by Wal-Mart in its quest to build more Supercenters in the West
Laboring for the environment
The challenge of restoring one overgrazed, weed-choked pasture is a good example of the kind of work that needs to be done in the West, to the benefit of both workers and the environment
Rednecks and hippies unite!
The small-town politics of a place like Paonia, Colo., are a microcosm of the nation today, revealing deep political divisions and a kind of winner-takes-all arrogance on the part of those in power
The other bottom line
In trading our public servants for government contractors, we're cutting the heart out of a public-trust ethic, and showing there's no faster way to demolish an institution than by parting it out to the lowest bidder.
In search of political dialogue
Our theory that newcomers would, over time, change the political landscape to one more progressive in outlook, needs revision
The great ranch lands sell-off
Environmentalists and ranchers should quit arguing about public-lands grazing and work together with the land trust movement to save the land we all love
A tempered victory
The Gila River Indian Community in Arizona is on the verge of a huge and historic water rights victory, but even the most successful Indian crusades for water are always compromises
Watt turns history on its head
Former Interior Secretary James Watt still sees himself as a victim of environmental "selfish interest groups," conveniently forgetting that he fought against popular conservation laws on behalf of powerful corporations
In conservation contests, there are no slam dunks
The increasing politicization of the courts is creating a hazardous landscape for conservationists, who need to diligently oppose anti-environmental judges
A plan for Spaceship Earth
President Bush’s space initiative will most likely come to nothing, but it reminds us that we need to get our own planet in order before we explore the galaxy
Lost in the wilderness of power politics
The kind of democratic dialogue that creates viable wilderness proposals is impossible in the current wilderness of power politics
Toppling monoliths in Mormon Country
Now that Mormons are debating environmental issues such as draining Lake Powell, it’s high time they looked at overpopulation and the rampant development of Utah’s Wasatch Front
Save the middle ground: Hug a radical
Even though it’s true that without the radical extremes, there would be no middle ground, to save wilderness in the Bush era, environmental hard-liners need to ease up on consensus deals
A defensive island
Los Alamos National Laboratory needs to be open with the public about the messes it has made, in order to ensure that the public health is protected
Conservation in an imperfect world
San Diego’s Multiple Species Conservation Program is a groundbreaking attempt to protect wildlife habitat, but some say it is still not enough to save the imperiled wildlife of Southern California
Pieces of the economic puzzle
The West’s small towns have always been subject to boom-and-bust economies, and even when the coal mines close and the factories move overseas, new economic engines will likely take their place
Talking about a revolution
Environmental issues in the West are the region’s "big story" – and it’s high time the region’s big newspapers covered them adequately
It’s time for some solidarity
It’s high time for the environmental movement to join with farmworker activists in their fight for fair treatment and protection from dangerous pesticides
A shock to the system
Montana’s Flathead Valley shows how environmentalists can work together – even work with their opponents – to get things done in a climate hostile to conservation