Dear Friends

  • NEW KIDS IN TOWN: Interns Matt Jenkins and Kirsten Bovee

    Betsy Marston
  • OLD FRIENDS: Dian Sparling, Barb and Stu Krebs outside the Polar Star Inn above Eagle, Colo.

    Greg Hanscom
 

Calling all party animals

The year's first meeting of the board of the nonprofit High Country Foundation, which governs High Country News, will be held in Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 2-4. As is the custom with board meetings, we'll be hosting a potluck dinner for readers from the Phoenix area. These events, held around the West each year, always provide a wealth of good food and conversation.

The potluck will be held Saturday, Feb. 3, at 6:30 p.m., at the Phoenix Zoo Auditorium, 455 N. Galvin Parkway. Call Robyn Morrison at 970/527-4898 if you plan to attend. Please bring a dish to share, and we'll provide drinks.

Beyond the revolution

Grizzly bears, national forests, natural gas, burgeoning metro areas, politically triumphant Indian tribes, Mexican immigrants, new national monuments ...

To steal from chambers of commerce everywhere, the American West has it all. At the center, managing the West's 500,000 square miles of federal land, are the Department of Interior and the U.S. Forest Service. For eight years under President Clinton, Interior's nine agencies and the Forest Service have been in the midst of a revolution - shifting from the old ways of mining and clear-cutting toward conservation and restoration. Now George W. Bush is president, and all bets are off.

For the next year, High Country News will follow the changing of the guard in Washington, D.C., and in the thousands of federal outposts in the West. We'll interview the Clinton team as they leave, and the Bush team as they enter. We'll track the fate of the new monuments, of on-the-ground agency leaders, of reintroduced wolves, of roadless forests, of the reborn Bureau of Land Management, and of the national parks.

Finally, breaking for the moment with our self-imposed geographic boundaries, we will watch the fight over oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, because as Alaska goes, so may go the West.

High country inspiration

Longtime subscribers Dian Sparling and Barb and Stu Krebs had an epiphany in a high-mountain ski cabin above Eagle, Colo., over the holidays. Dian Sparling is a midwife in Fort Collins, Colo., while Barb and Stu live over the hill in Montrose, Colo., where they're building a two-story earth, tire and timber home their kids call "the mother ship."

As at any gathering of High Country News readers, they said, the conversation turned to politicians. The room took on a gloomy air until someone said, "These people should be reading High Country News!"

Some politicos already read the paper, but for those who don't, the group suggested a sponsorship program - something like the "Adopt a manatee" program - only this one would allow folks to send their congressional representative, county commissioner or other elected officials a subscription to HCN.

Stu came up with the slogan: "If you can't buy one, sponsor one!"

If you're interested, send us your politician's name and address and $32. We'll send him or her a year's worth of High Country News. Call Gretchen Nicholoff to see if your politician already subscribes: 970/527-4898.

New interns

New intern Kirsten Bovee likes a good yarn. After graduating from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., with a degree in history, she was hired by a labor union for construction workers to travel the state recording the oral histories of crane operators and catskinners. Union old-timers regaled her with tales of mule-powered machinery, Pinkerton strike-breakers, and workers struggling for fair labor conditions and decent wages. These dialogues with highway pavers and dam-builders provided an eye-opening counterpoint for college years passed in enviro-friendly Portland and Eugene.

Last year Kirsten packed her Toyota to the gills and headed for Taos, N.M., bent on living the ski bum's life. Instead, she found work with the Western Environmental Law Center, a nonprofit outfit that represents environmental groups and Native American tribes around the Southwest. At WELC, attorneys on the frontline introduced her to the conflicts surrounding mining, forestry and clean water issues in the Southwest.

After a lifetime spent in the rain-soaked Northwest, Kirsten says she can't get enough of the high country sun. While haunted by memories of cedar, grunge bands and banana slugs, Kirsten plans on basking in this abundance of Vitamin D a little while longer before returning to the Northwest.

New intern Matt Jenkins grew up in Reno, Nev., where his father teaches ecology at the University of Nevada. He fondly remembers helping his dad chase cows out of research plots in the Sierra and back onto Forest Service land.

Matt attended Carleton College in Minnesota, but spent several summers moonlighting as a wildland firefighter in Wyoming and Utah. After graduation, he ran off to China for three years, where he taught and worked with Doctors Without Borders. He says that even in China, he could "never really get away from the West," especially since his mailbox was constantly stuffed with copies of High Country News sent by college friend Ali Macalady, now a radio staffer at the newspaper.

Matt celebrated his return to the United States with one last fire stint, this time working on a helicopter at Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. After spending the summer buzzing around and plucking lost hikers from danger (and ruining more than a few Los Angelenos' wilderness experiences in the process), he says he's ready to spend some time reporting and writing in Paonia.

Contradistinguishing cows

E.T. Collinsworth III wrote recently from Arizona's San Simon Valley with a gripe about our Nov. 11 Heard around the West column, in which we referred to castrating cows. "Castration is the removal of the male testes," wrote Collinsworth. "Cows are female. Therefore it is biologically impossible to castrate a cow."

Alas, it's true. Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary says a cow is "the mature female of domestic cattle." We were almost saved by the definition of castration, which can also refer to spaying a female. But we were still wrong, wrote Collinsworth, who has worked with cows (and bulls) for 20 years.

"Cowboys do not castrate cows. Cowboys castrate only bull calves, converting them into steers. The hormonal change makes them (the steers, not the cowboys) eat more grass and gain more weight. The result is a more efficient use of the cattleman's natural resources or further degradation of our public lands, depending on one's point of view."

Finally, this note came to publisher Ed Marston in response to a request for a donation to the HCN Research Fund. "Ed: If bullshit was snowflakes you, your staff and board would sure be a blizzard."

The writer didn't sign the note and apparently forgot to enclose a check.

High Country News Classifieds
  • SEASONAL SAN JUAN RANGERS
    Seeking experienced crew members to patrol Colorado's most iconic mountain wilderness.
  • ENDANGERED SPECIES STAFF SCIENTIST
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a staff scientist to advocate for the conservation of endangered species. General position overview: The position will involve working...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY - ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM
    The Center for Biological Diversity - a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of imperiled plants, animals and wild places - seeks a dynamic...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a Staff Attorney to join our team of attorneys, scientists, campaigners who are working to protect America's public lands...
  • SOUTHWEST CONSERVATION ADVOCATE
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a Southwest Conservation Advocate to join our team of attorneys, scientists and campaigners who are working to protect America's...
  • OCEANS PROGRAM CAMPAIGNER
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks an experienced campaigner for its oceans program. The aim of the position is to campaign for the protection of...
  • CLIMATE LAW INSTITUTE ATTORNEY
    The Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute is looking to add an attorney to its team and will consider applicants at both staff attorney...
  • FULL-TIME CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a full-time Campaign Director in our Climate Law Institute to join our campaign for progressive, urgent government action to...
  • WESTERN WATER PROJECT MANAGER
    National Wildlife Federation is hiring NM-based position focused on riparian corridors, watershed health. Learn more and apply online: https://www.nwf.org/about-us/careers
  • ASSOCIATE PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Position Title: Associate Program Director Location: New Mexico; flexible in state Position reports to: Senior Program Director Position Closes: March 13, 2020 GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The...
  • DEAN, W. A. FRANKE COLLEGE OF FORESTRY AND CONSERVATION, UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA
    Dean, W. A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, apply http://bit.ly/2548umjobs. AA/EEO/ADA/Veterans Preference Employer
  • GRAPHIC DESIGNER
    Western Resource Advocates (WRA) seeks a creative and driven graphic design professional to design high quality print and digital collateral. The Graphic Designer will bring...
  • STEWARDSHIP SPECIALIST
    San Isabel Land Protection Trust seeks experienced person to manage its 133 conservation easements in south-central Colorado.
  • CAMPAIGN REPRESENTATIVE
    Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign is hiring an experienced campaigner to lead our work challenging the oil and fracked gas industry on the Gulf...
  • AG LANDS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Oregon Agricultural Trust (OAT) seeks passionate relationship builder experienced in coordinating agricultural conservation easement transactions.
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • FINANCE DIRECTOR
    Mountain Studies Inst (MSI) is hiring 4+ positions: Finance Director; Coms/Engagmnt Mngr; Dev/Engagmnt Dir; Americorps vol
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
    Mountain Studies Inst (MSI) is hiring 4+ positions: Finance Director; Dev/Engagement Dir; Coms/Engagement Mngr; & Americorps volunteer
  • SEASONAL TRAIL CREW LEADERS
    Lead the nation's premier volunteer-based trail crew programs on the spectacular Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. This is a great career-building opportunity for rising professionals....
  • ORGANIZING AND TRAINING COORDINATOR
    Is this your dream job? Are you looking to join a nationally recognized organizing network, live in a spectacular part of the West, and work...