WOTR columns are propaganda


Dear HCN,

I want to take this time to comment vociferously about a trend I see in HCN's Writers on the Range columns. And I am not at all happy with it!

There have been at least three columns published this year in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that are a bunch of bull! If I see one more column like these, I will not renew my subscription to High Country News when it expires.

The articles I am referring to are:

1. "Time is right to bring back the bounty on coyotes," by Tim Fitzgerald;

2. "Roadless debate just a diversion," by Frank Carroll;

3. "The Clinton roadless rule took the wrong road," by Frank Carroll.

The first article about introducing a bounty on coyotes is ridiculous. Not only do bounties cost taxpayers money, but also it becomes a self-perpetuating activity. And studies have shown that if coyotes, wolves, mountain lions and other predators are not killed off, they tend to chase off interlopers within their own species in a given area, thereby allowing any "overpopulation" problem to take care of itself. When predators are killed, by bounty hunters or otherwise, it merely opens up a new "home" for another predator to take its place. If you have to advocate killing coyotes, why not support a hunting season for them?

Just because Frank Carroll has fought fires for the Forest Service does not make him a suitable writer for Writers on the Range. Potlatch Corporation, for which he works, is a large logging and wood-products company that enhances "the value of Potlatch stock for our investors." They have 6,000 employees operating in Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Arkansas and Minnesota. This is not a small mom-and-pop operation. They are perpetuators of the commercial status quo in logging. About the only good thing they do is to promote "value-added" activities once the lumber is cut.

I am really disappointed that you would let these people publish their propaganda under the Writers on the Range banner. They can find other avenues for their columns.

I am not an "extremist" that believes all public lands should be locked up with the key thrown away. I support ethical hunting, mom-and-pop logging for family-owned ventures, and maybe even a little grazing that is carried out in areas that can support such activities when it is done in environmentally sensitive ways. Writing about our differences on "environmentally friendly" activities is perfectly acceptable. You went beyond the bounds of acceptability. By allowing these articles to be printed under the Writers on the Range banner, you are supporting the "worth" and value of such words, even if not supporting their exact content.

If this situation is not ameliorated in the future, perhaps the mission of High Country News is one that I no longer support.

Drusha L. Mayhue
Bozeman, Montana

Read Opinion (HCN, 10/22/01: High Country News: Friend or foe?)

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