Dear Friends

 

Putting California back on the map

Reader Frank Aloisio called recently from California to ask where his state had gone. Our official HCN map of The West, drawn by our intrepid cartographer Diane Sylvain, doesn't include the Golden State. We've been too shy, in the past, to cover California, for fear of being swept into the urbs and burbs of the West Coast, which already has a respectable newspaper or two. Aloisio suggests it's time to stop living in denial. "It looks like you could buy beach-front property in Nevada," he says. "Put us back on the map!"

With our editor-publisher duo, Betsy and Ed Marston, teaching a course in Berkeley this spring, we plan to do just that. Ed has just sent us a cover story which will serve as the sequel to this issue. It's about the West's thirstiest water empire - California.

In the waning moments of the Clinton administration, then Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt announced he had negotiated a water settlement that would eventually reduce California's take of the Colorado River back to the annual 4.4 million acre-feet allowed by the Law of the River. Later this spring, Ed's lead will examine this mammoth deal and what it means for the future of the West.

Hellos and goodbyes

Longtime HCN reader and freelance writer John Rosapepe dropped by in March, en route to Seattle from Washington, D.C. John had recently left his job with the National Parks and Conservation Association and was visiting friends while he contemplated his next move. Joan and Alan Hurst from Hinsdale, Ill., came in for copies of a back issue to pass along to friends in Redstone, Colo. Thomas Elpel and his son Donny dropped in. Thomas has written three books, a field guide called Botany in a Day, a guide to primitive living skills called Participating in Nature, and now Direct Pointing to Real Wealth, a book about living the American dream on less than $15,000 a year. You can reach him at Hollowtop Outdoor Primitive School, 12 Quartz St., Pony, MT 59747-0697.

Finally, we were saddened to hear of the death of conservationist and musician Paul Todd. Todd, 39, worked for the Yosemite Institute and the Teton Science School and, from 1991 to 1999, managed the Nature Conservancy's Silver Creek Preserve in Picabo, Idaho. He will be remembered not just for his conservation work, but for his musical performances with the Wood River String Band and Sagebrush Reunion.

Our sympathy goes out to Paul's parents, sister and his wife, Laura. Donations to the Paul Todd Memorial Fund at the Nature Conservancy of Idaho, P.O. Box 165, Sun Valley, ID 83353, will pay for children's environmental education programs at the Silver Creek Preserve.

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