Dear Friends


Getting it right

Mount Evans, Mount Elbert, they're not the same, many readers note. The former, which we'd called highest (HCN, 9/27/99) is merely 14,264 feet; the latter, near Leadville, Colo., is number one at 14,431 feet. In gently correcting us, Roger Williams of Boulder, Colo., adds that Mount Evans boasts a herd of Rocky Mountain goats who sometimes congregate on the road to lick salt off it.

An equally gentle rejoinder came from John Singlaub, manager of the Carson City, Nev., field office of the Bureau of Land Management. We'd quoted Singlaub in our lead story about Walker Lake, saying that he'd "broken every procurement regulation" ever written to get a moutain-bike trail built on public land.

"Actually, what I said was that I had been accused of breaking every procurement regulation," Singlaub says. "What I did was proper, yet somewhat new and creative. BLM funded a cooperative agreement with the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association, a nonprofit, to build and install trail signs for BLM. We were able to get a cheaper and higher quality product than we would have through the BLM sign shop. This method of funding is legal and now common practice throughout BLM, though it was cutting edge back in 1988.

"If you could print this correction," Singlaub says, "it would greatly enhance my prospects for a continued career with BLM."

Plum Creek Timber Co. is not a member of the Blue Ribbon Coalition, says the firm's Kris Russell, nor does it support the coalition's campaign to open up wilderness to off-road vehicles. We mistakenly listed the company in a Wayward West item (HCN, 10/11/99).

In early summer, in a story about embattled farmers on the Great Plains, we placed Regent, N.D., "a couple of degrees west of the 100th parallel" (HCN, 6/21/99). No can do, said Bill Fischer of Colorado Springs. "The author obviously meant to say the town was a couple of degrees west of the 100th meridian of west longitude and on a parallel of north latitude."

William Dickinson of Tucson, Ariz., is right, we flipped a slide of a "stealth" subdivision on the outskirts of his city (HCN, 5/10/99). We spoke to Dale Turner of the Sky Island Alliance, who took the aerial photo, and he guessed that his writing on both sides of the slide probably led us astray. Dickinson, emeritus professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona, says the development sends a mixed message:

"On the one hand, it is leapfrogged some miles beyond the continuously settled area of Tucson. On the other hand, it is extremely compact, accommodating more people in smaller space than most local housing, and being adjacent to an existing freeway, it required minimal road construction." Dickinson also said that some people in Tucson argue that the development is environmentally preferable to building in the greasewood flats of the valley floor.

Thanks to all who find fault and take the time to tell us about it. We appreciate it.

The golden age

Lured by the intense yellows of a glorious fall in western Colorado, readers have been dropping by our storefront office. Bill Adler and Robin Hobart were on their way from Oakland, Calif., to Austin, Texas, by way of Vancouver, Canada - an admittedly odd route - and enjoying the free time. Adler told us he'd just finished writing a book about the global economy, following a family from New Jersey to Mississippi to Mexico. Adler, who narrowly missed a stint as an HCN intern some years back, said that in 1995 he published Land of Opportunity, a book about a rural Arkansas family that became one of Detroit's biggest crack dealers.

Brian Naro visited between stays at a Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance rendezvous and a Colorado Environmental Coalition campout. Naro explained he was a "defunct geologist" turned urban horticulturist near Ward, Colo. Working as a caretaker, he said, allows him to "live the dream without owning the dream."

Fred Rasmussen, from Salida, Colo., dropped in during his drive to Grand Junction for a meeting with fellow board-members of Colorado Trout Unlimited.

Stocking up on back issues of the paper were Barbara and Dennis Baldwin of Englewood, Colo. She's a new legislative affairs committee member for the Garden Club of America.

Denver attorney Cole Wist said hello during his visit to Paonia, his home town. Cole is that rare specimen around these parts - a Democrat.

Former HCN intern Richard Hicks, of Austin, Texas, said hello while on vacation from carpentering work. David Confer, from Tucson, Ariz., was driving through and decided to renew his subscription in person. He's an environmental engineer.

Boulder, Colo., readers Barbara and Ed Kase and their son Joey, now in kindergarten, said hello during their trip to Mesa Verde National Park. And Carl Rosenberg and Romany Wood of Santa Fe, N.M., started a subscription while checking out the town as a possible new home.

Wren Wirth said a fast hello on the way to Crested Butte, Colo., having just completed a 14-day raft trip with husband, Tim, who runs Ted Turner's $1 billion United Nations charity, and friends. They'd run the big water down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. It was a great trip, she reported, but she now faced "a 24-hour laundry day."

Veda Sands from Los Angeles, Calif., said hello, followed by Al and Ann Grauer from Silver City, N.M., on their way to visit their daughter at a conference in Crested Butte. A photographer, Ann said the fall light was amazing.

One of the West's natural resources, historian David Lavender, and his wife, Muriel, of Ojai, Calif., visited for a while. David told us he'd been an HCN reader since wildlife biologist and rancher Tom Bell founded the paper in 1970. The couple's grandson, David Lavender, teaches English at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale.

Readers Hal Brill of Paonia and Jim Cummings of Santa Fe, N.M., stopped by to chat. Hal and his father, Jack Brill, are co-authors with Cliff Feigenbaum of a book about green investing, Investing with Your Values: Making Money and Making a Difference, (Bloomberg Press, Princeton). Cummings has produced a CD, The Dreams of Gaia, which he calls the voice of the planet.

* Betsy Marston for the staff

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