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Know the West

The Wayward West

  The Canada lynx has gotten its due. After years of resisting, on Feb. 12 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed, under pressure from conservation groups and an order from a federal judge, to list the lynx as a protected species in the lower 48 states (HCN, 11/24/97). Conser-vationists have long argued that logging and road building threaten the forest habitat of the lynx, whose population has almost disappeared south of the Canadian border.

In Arizona, the Hopi Indian tribe installed Wayne Taylor Jr. as its new chairman in a day-long inauguration ceremony Feb. 5. Taylor, who replaced Chairman Ferrell Sekakuku, praised the 1996 lease settlement of the century-old Navajo-Hopi land conflict (HCN, 3/31/97), an agreement some Navajos continue to protest. Taylor called the dispute one of the "costliest disputes in tribal history."

John Mumma will stay as head of the Colorado Division of Wildlife after all. Mumma, director since 1995, announced in January that he was "worn out" and would leave at the end of his contract in July. But he says messages of support from Wildlife Commission members, agency officials and constituents changed his mind. Says Mumma, "I feel like a long distance runner who has caught his second wind."

Yellowstone National Park's top law enforcement officer, Dan Sholly, has been demoted and reassigned to the same job at Florida's Big Cypress National Preserve. The Park Service cites misconduct allegations filed in September, but won't give specifics. Sholly, who has been Yellowstone's chief ranger since 1985, has appealed the transfer. He also won't discuss details, but told the Associated Press, "My name will be cleared."

More bad news for the proposed landfill near Southern California's Joshua Tree National Park (HCN, 9/29/97): On Feb. 18, San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith McConnell rejected the Riverside County Board of Supervisors' environmental impact report on the project, citing impacts to the park and the threatened desert tortoise. The county and the Mine Reclamation Company, which would build the landfill, have not yet decided to appeal.

It's final. Cows are banished from five tributary canyons of Comb Wash in southern Utah. The Interior Department's appeals board has upheld a 1993 Interior administrative judge's ruling that the Bureau of Land Management ban cows from the canyons, which are part of a Ute Mountain Ute Tribe grazing allotment (HCN, 1/24/94). Scott Groene of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance called the ruling "a slam dunk."

* Peter Chilson