Trading away the West

  Historical photographs of ranch life tend to be so full of men that an observer might think no women ever lived on the range. But in 1898, Mabel Souther did more than just live on the Big Red Ranch in northeastern Wyoming - she took pictures that documented the working life there. Perhaps her cowpoke subjects bristled when the ranch manager's wife made them stand still for a photograph. But she earned their respect every time she photographed, hauling her camera, tripod and a suitcase full of accessories across the Wyoming landscape. One of the cowboys from Big Red collected many of her photographs, which are on view at the ranch through Dec. 4 in a show called One Hundred Years Ago: Big Red Ranch and the Photographs of Mabel Graham McIntosh Souther.


Big Red Ranch, now owned by the Ucross Foundation, is one-half mile east of the junction of U.S. Highways 14 and 16 in Ucross, Wyo. For more information, call 307/737-2291.





*Gabriel Ross





TRADING AWAY


THE WEST


After a team of four reporters at the Seattle Times spent nine months researching federal land exchanges in the West, the newspaper published a six-part series that scrutinizes a string of recent land trades. The series, "Trading away the West," begins with a report on the Huckleberry Mountain land exchange in western Washington. In that deal, Weyerhaeuser Corp. traded 7 acres of mostly low-value timberland for every acre of old-growth forest it received. But what the reporters found in their own backyards was only the beginning. The report also explains how Congress arranges swaps on its own, overriding federal agencies and leaving the public in the dark. In fact, 50 separate land exchanges are now awaiting a vote in Congress. "Even when proposed with the best of intentions, such as protecting natural resources," the reporters write, "land trades executed by Congress often share troubling features."


For a copy of the "Trading Away the West" series, send $2 to "Trading Away the West," Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111-0070 or call 206/464-2011. Or read it on the Web at www.seattletimes.com/-special/landswap/.


* Dustin Solberg


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