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Know the West

The Wayward West

  Residents of Jackson Hole, Wyo., have some new neighbors: a pair of gray wolves and their five pups. Roughly 50 wolf pups have been born this spring around Yellowstone National Park, bringing the population to more than 160. Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is appealing a 1997 district court ruling that ordered the agency to capture the reintroduced wolves (HCN, 4/13/98). "I don't know where we'd put that many wolves," wolf recovery leader Ed Bangs told AP.

Some Nevada residents may soon have unwelcome neighbors. State Sen. Mark Amodei, R, is sponsoring a bill that would allow people to truck manufactured homes into neighborhoods where they are currently prohibited. "I think there are some people who have preconceived notions of manufactured housing that are wrong," he told the Nevada Appeal. "They still think of them as trailers."

Black-tailed prairie dogs have been shot, poisoned and bulldozed out of much of the West, but southern New Mexico's Gray Ranch is rolling out the welcome wagon (HCN, 2/1/99). The Animas Foundation, which owns the ranch, wants to import 160 prairie dogs from Mexico. But some locals fear the animals could spread to other ranches, bringing disease and creating a headache for local landowners if the species is listed as endangered.

Nevada state leaders continue to fight a proposed nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, so the nuclear industry is looking elsewhere for support (HCN, 2/26/97). This spring, nuclear lobbyists at Yucca will host Wyoming legislators who are under pressure to keep the waste out of a temporary dump in their state. Julie Jordan with the National Energy Institute says she won't include Yucca Mountain opponents in the tour. She told the Casper Star-Tribune, "We already know what they are going to say."

The Sioux and Assiniboin tribes may kick alcohol off the Fort Peck reservation in Montana. Responding to alarming rates of alcoholism, drunk driving, domestic abuse and attempted suicide, tribal leaders voted unanimously to put prohibition on the ballot this fall. But some have doubts. "If you make it unavailable, they're going to go off the reservation for it," tribal board member Gene Culbertson warned in the Billings Gazette, "and there's no telling what will happen then."

* Greg Hanscom