You might call it a minor movement, but "reshoring" -- a new word that means bringing offshore jobs back home -- is buoying some residents of rural Idaho. About 12 years ago, Buck Knives sent up to half its production to China, thinking it would save money. Unfortunately, many customers were steamed by that decision. "Hunters are rednecks, and they don't like anything with that C word on it," admits company chairman Chuck Buck. So for the last few years, Buck has begun reshoring knife production and adding jobs to the town of Post Falls, and sales have picked up. "I want to get out of China as quickly as I can," says Buck, whose grandfather founded the firm in 1902. Idaho Statesman reporter Bill Roberts also talked to Ed Endebrock, who just opened Ende Machinery and Foundry in the declining town of Craigmont, Idaho, population 500. "We need to bring back our manufacturing base to this country," Endebrock says. "We can't live on flipping hamburgers all our lives." Businesses decide to leave Asia for lots of reasons, including increased automation here, growing freight costs, the need to be closer to resources and customers for quick decisions, and retaining customer goodwill. But there was another -- and slightly more unpleasant -- reason why Endebrock chose to scour the country for parts and build a foundry in Idaho from scratch. He said he was "frosted when he sent plans for a proprietary piece of equipment from his Lewiston plant to his Chinese manufacturer to reproduce, and the newly produced part ended up in the hands of his competitor before he received it."
Allison Linville, a backcountry ranger for Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness, sometimes hikes 20 miles in a day -- a short trip, really -- as part of her job, while a 40-mile trek isn't exactly uncommon. When The Sun magazine asked its readers recently to write in about their experiences "paying attention," Linville responded by describing her solitary job in the high country. She told how she'd often extend her hikes by hours, just by slowing down to eat huckleberries or observe cloud formations. One day, she continued, she climbed a small hill near her ranger station and decided to "take everything in for five minutes." She observed birds and bugs, admired the way the leaves moved in the trees and noticed a fungus she'd never seen before. Then the unexpected happened: "I was ready to start walking again when I saw a mule-deer doe, completely immobile and blending into her surroundings. She had been standing there the entire time, watching me."
Fed up with black bears moseying through town to make a mess of food waste inside wide-open Dumpsters, some Incline Village residents near northern Lake Tahoe have taken to photographing unsecured Dumpsters outside businesses, then pasting the pictures on a Facebook page called the "Lake Tahoe Wall of Shame." All we're doing, the group's leader told the Lake Tahoe Bonanza, is "asking people to close the Dumpster and latch it. It's pretty simple stuff." If businesses don't comply -- and the Facebook page showed 16 Dumpsters out of compliance at the time -- the fine is $100 for a first offense, reports The Associated Press.
- This article by Betsy Marston originally appeared in the Nov 24, 2011 issue of High Country News.
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Bringing it home, keeping it wildby Betsy Marston
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