Dear Friends

 

Looking back

Each year in the fall we take stock of our work over the last 12 months and ask you to do the same. About the time you receive this issue, you should also find an annual report from us in your mailbox. You may also find a request for help in continuing the work of covering the West.

If you've been subscribing for awhile, you know that subscription payments alone do not cover this paper's operating costs. Each year we ask readers to consider a contribution to help make our coverage possible.

And every year, 20 percent to 25 percent of HCN's readers assess HCN's value and contribute what they can afford - anything from $5 to $5,000. Every gift is important. HCN enjoys a broad base of support; we like that because it means we are rooted in the West.

For those of you who can contribute $1,000 or more, you may have already noticed that the Publisher's Circle donation category has moved up a notch this year, to $2,500. We wanted to be able to acknowledge the several donors who contribute at that level and to challenge others to consider a larger contribution. Our thanks to HCN board member Farwell Smith who launched this category with a $2,500 gift. The $1,000 category has a new name: Steward.

And thanks again to the more than 1,000 readers who contributed to the High Country News Research Fund since Oct. 1. Instead of a second appeal for funds, you should find only the annual report in your mailbox.

Tips for landowners

Reader Herman F. Dieterich, a retired veterinarian in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, wrote to us recently about his attempt to save an adjacent ranch from development. But he didn't want to dwell on how at least three nonprofit groups failed to help him keep 4,500 acres from getting carved up into ranchettes. He says he and his wife, Susan, a nurse who helps him rehabilitate wild animals at the couple's Frisco Creek Wildlife Hospital, decided "to make the best of what we know is a bad situation."

They did that by writing a primer on how to live at 9,500 feet, where the temperature in winter falls to 30 below, "and the weather just sits there." Biting cold alone might drive out some of the new arrivals to the Del Norte area, he said, but meanwhile, Dieterich (a former Texan who loves the cold) is circulating his tips for living in the wild with wildlife.

A few examples: "Build fences (if you must) using three-strand barbless wire with the top strand no more than 42 inches high and the bottom strand 18 inches above ground."

To keep birds from crashing into windows, Dieterich advises newcomers to choose sectioned windows rather than expansive glass.

To avoid attracting bears, Dieterich urges his neighbors to store bird seed and garbage cans inside a building, and if property is along a creek, to allow brush to grow on either side rather than tidying up the landscape. Because elk migrate through the area, he adds two tips for drivers: Watch out for illegal road hunters, and don't drive fast around blind corners. The couple, who "care for mice to moose," he says, can be reached at the nonprofit Frisco Creek Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, Box 2E, Del Norte, CO 81132 (719/852-2474).

The turkeys are gone

Thanksgiving has come and gone, though it has seemed from the glut of advertising in the zillions of papers we subscribe to that another holiday - Christmas - was threatening to occur first. We know the hunting season is also over because the carcasses that hang on hooks outside the meat locker next door are those of cows, locally grown. Butchering has been steady, and staffer Diane Sylvain spotted this sign on the meat plant's front door: "Gone out to slaughter." Her annotation: "Thanks for the warning. Many psychopaths are far less considerate these days."

* Betsy Marston for the staff

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