Dear Friends



Two career Forest Service employees working on ecosystem management have each won $10,000 from the High Desert Museum in Bend, Ore., which gives the coveted, annual Earle A. Chiles Award. The winners are Jeff Blackwood, supervisor of the Umatilla National Forest, and Thomas Quigley, a Ph.D. range economist. For the last four years, the two have led a team of federal biologists, managers and others in developing a strategy for understanding and managing a huge amount of public land. The 72 million acres of mostly high, dry land stretch across seven states in the Northwest; the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, better known as "Ice-bump" (HCN, 11/23/98), hopes to better coordinate management of the area's 32 national forests and 16 districts administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The Ice-bump team has published some of its scientific research; for information on what's available, contact Kathy Campbell at ICBEMP, 112 E. Poplar St., Walla Walla, WA 99362 (509/522-4042).

Congratulations, too, to Elizabeth (Betty) Turner Feazel, a grassroots environmentalist and founding member of the Southwest Land Alliance, for winning the $10,000 Blue Valley Ranch Award, jointly sponsored by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The annual award, given for the first time, is named in honor of wildlife restoration work done by Blue Valley Ranch near Kremmling, Colo. Feazel organized a group called Save our San Juans to fight two proposed ski areas along tributaries of the San Juan River. Thanks in large part to her persistent objections, neither resort was ever given final approval by the Forest Service. According to river-restorer Dave Rosgen: "Betty was against the ski areas but for the restoration of the river."

High Country News recently received an award, too, a hefty crystal vase and elegant lunch at Denver's Brown Palace hotel from the Denver Botanic Gardens. Board president Charles Cleworth said the paper "seeks to increase public understanding of complex environmental concerns' and through its publication raises our "environmental IQ." Other awards went to Lady Bird Johnson, "the First Lady of Wildflowers," Colorado horticulturists Rob Proctor and Lauren Springer, and the late Bernice "Pete" Petersen, a tireless volunteer for the botanic gardens who organized its annual plant and book sale and edited its monthly newsletter. An award for long-term service by a volunteer to Denver Botanic Gardens will now be given in Pete's name.

When you're wrong ...

We've been saving up corrections for several weeks now, telling ourselves that weather notes and the names and comments of drop-ins, along with other tidbits, are far more interesting and that we'll get to those niggling details later. Much later, as it turned out, but here in no particular order are errors insightful readers have pointed out, usually in the nicest possible notes or e-mails.

Residents of Park County, Mont., have formed a group we neglected to mention, and it monitors the latest plans for development; you can reach them by writing Park County Environmental Council, Box 164, Livingston, MT 59047 (406/222-0723).

Reporter Bryan Foster tells us that at the Cove-Mallard protests of timber sales in Idaho, over 200 activists have been arrested so far, with sentences including fines up to $1,000, and over a week in jail. "However, environmental organizations do not cover these fines. Protesters are responsible for raising their own funds."

Reader Marianne Karraker of Page, Ariz., who has collected fees for the Park Service at Death Valley and Grand Canyon, tells us that the entrance stations to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are not stick and brick, as reporter Christopher Smith reported Nov. 9. "They are metal and glass structures which in the off-season have their windows covered with metal grating." In any case, she adds, "you couldn't pay me enough to man such a station. People being paid GS-5, roughly $9 to $10 an hour, shouldn't be working in such hazardous situations."

From Miguel Melbin, by e-mail, we hear that we placed the Wallowa Mountains in the state of Washington in a photo caption Sept. 28. "In fact, the Wallowas are in Wallowa County in northeastern Oregon ... The Wallowas are home to Eagle Cap Wilderness, where Frazier Lake is located." Chances are, they won't move anytime soon.

In staff reporter Dustin Solberg's report this summer about helping Zuni teenagers edit and publish a community newspaper, reader George Duda, an urban forester, tells us we made a mistake right in the opening sentence. Chinese elms aren't in the area, he tells us; rather, these are Siberian elms - and the two trees are as radically different from each other as lions from tigers. "Siberian elm is right behind saltcedar, which is taking over the Western riparian ecosystem," he says. "Siberian elm is one of the five trees from hell, taking over the city, the surrounding mountains, the Rio Grande bosque - you name it." As for the Chinese elm, he calls it a "highly regarded city tree" with no nasty habits.

Anne McKibbin thoroughly confused us a while back by telling us that our correction about what state the small towns of Buffalo and Bison are in was incorrect. The towns are in South Dakota, she reports, and the sign photographed by J. Perley Fitzgerald stands at the junction of U.S. 85 and South Dakota State Highway 20.

Reader William H. Wolverton nailed us for transposing the name of Utah's newest monument in a photo caption Aug. 17. It's the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and he adds that the photo was of Coyote Gulch or Harris Wash, "neither of which are in the monument." Photographer Jeff Widen says he now thinks his photo was taken in Davis Creek, and that's also not in the monument. Many of Escalante's canyons lie outside the monument's borders.

Robert Nold of Lakewood, Colo., took us to task for shortening his letter and leaving out what he says was his main point: "(Writer) Evan Cantor is mistaken in claiming that introduced weeds are ubiquitous. They occur primarily on disturbed land and are a direct result of such disturbance ... Suggesting that the plants' provenance is the reason for their proliferation, rather than rampant development, over-grazing and poor land management, requires a leap of faith that very few people are willing to make."

Finally, the price went up for a publication from the 250-member industry group, the Family Farm Alliance. Its report, Western Irrigation Economic Benefits Review: Irrigation Agriculture's Role for the 21st Century, costs $25, not $10, from the alliance at 9217 Laguana Lake Way, Elk Grove, CA 95758 (916/683-7196.)

- Betsy Marston for the staff

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