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Know the West

Keeping rural American rural

  City sprawl has swallowed up rural communities; a revised edition of Saving America's Countryside: A Guide to Rural Conservation shows how local action can stave off urbanization. Written by Samuel N. Stokes, A. Elizabeth Watson, and Shelley S. Mastran, the book offers everything from well-honed ideas for organizing residents to sample drafts of easements designed to strengthen a downtown. The authors cite 32 examples from around the country, including seven Western states, and detail how locals working together can block everything from inappropriate development to the destruction of a local treasure. Citizens in Bandon, Ore., for example, saved a historic U.S. Coast Guard station by selling port-authority owned marshland to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, then using the proceeds to purchase the station. The renovated building now houses a historical museum and the marshland is protected public land.

Johns Hopkins University Press, 2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-4319. Hardcover: $49.95; paperback: $25.95. Illustrated with black-and-white photos and maps, 448 pages.

*Sara Phillips