The Wayward West

  Vast tracts of inholdings in the Mojave National Preserve in California are for sale - and its National Park Service caretakers can only watch the new neighbors move in (HCN, 4/14/97). Newcomers could mean 100 houses and a golf course. Just across the state line in Nevada, a county wants to build a major airport. Because the legislation that created the preserve four years ago ruled out restricting private-land owners within the park, the 2,200 people who own 12 percent of the park can sell to anyone they please.


There were 11. Now there are seven Mexican wolves left in the wilds of Arizona and New Mexico, and some say it's a setback to the recovery program (HCN, 2/16/98). But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which released the wolves four months ago, says not to worry. "We predicted that half or slightly more of the wolves would be lost or recaptured over the first year," wolf program leader David Parsons told the Arizona Daily Star.


Because the Canada lynx has disappeared from most of its former range in the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finally proposed listing the cat as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (HCN, 2/2/98). The decision comes after years of political wrangling and a court order. But some environmentalists still say the lynx needs more protection, because habitat destruction and trapping have almost wiped out the animal in the lower 48. The healthiest lynx population is found in Montana, where trapping lynx is still legal.


Five months after the town of Detroit, Ore., asked the Willamette National Forest to keep chainsaws away from the upper reaches of its watershed, the agency announced it will log the 379-acre "High and Dry" timber sale (HCN, 4/27/98). The Forest Service says that because it won't build any new roads or cut any old-growth, and will leave 70 percent of the forest canopy intact, locals have nothing to fear. Detroit's city council hasn't yet decided if it will appeal.


In 1995, Louisiana-Pacific Corp. promised no more shenanigans. It fired scandal-plagued CEO Harry Merlo and agreed to pony up $275 million to reimburse thousands of homeowners who bought the company's defective waferboard siding - once advertised as "a triumph in wood technology" (HCN, 12/9/96). But the Wall Street Journal reports L-P is still shirking its duties. In May, claims totaled $365 million, with approximately 800 new claims pouring in weekly. So far, 48,000 consumers haven't seen a dime.


* Dustin Solberg
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