Dear Friends

 

An Olympic-sized hangover

HCN associate publisher Greg Hanscom, who hails from Park City, Utah, went home during the middle of February, to experience the greatest sports show on earth. He and other family members helped officiate the Winter Olympics' cross-country ski events, but those duties left plenty of time to revel in Olympic mania and to send us a field dispatch.

"Despite dire predictions that Utah would be overrun with humanity, tangled in traffic, and shocked, simply shocked, by the rowdy and oft-colorful international sports fans," Hanscom writes, "the Beehive State has put on a pretty great show.

"Downtown Salt Lake City is hung with huge banners of speed skaters and slalom racers wearing really, really tight pants. There's live music and reveling in the streets every night. The official Olympic car manufacturer, drink maker and long-distance phone company have set up distractions - and house-sized TVs called jumbotrons - everywhere. Oh, and the skiing/skating/sledding/ boarding has been spectacular, as well."

Hanscom says he isn't surprised that Utah hasn't melted under the spotlight. Park City is a veteran international tourist town. But he predicts a doozy of a hangover: "For starters, there's the money. The Salt Lake Organizing Committee, the group that brought this circus to town, has promised to pay back $59 million that Utah taxpayers spent on ski jumps, bobsled runs and the rest. That may or may not happen, but regardless, keeping these facilities up and running will cost many millions each year. And the ski resorts are already asking the Legislature for marketing money to avoid a 'postpartum' economic slump."

Other issues may also rear up: The controversial 1996 land trade that landed billionaire oil and ski resort mogul Earl Holding 1,375 acres of prime national forest at the base of Utah's Snow Basin is back in the news. Arizona Sen. John McCain, who is looking for ammunition in his battle for campaign finance reform, has seized on the cash that Holding channeled to Utah Rep. James Hansen, U.S. Sen. Orin Hatch and others. McCain has called for a federal investigation of the trade and the rest of the $1.5 billion in federal tax subsidies that laid the track for the 2002 games.

And then there's the Olympic Scandal, the first one. The Salt Lake Organizing Committee has done its best to gloss over the scandal, which involved its highest officials bribing International Olympic Committee members in hopes of winning the 2002 games. A judge acquitted former SLOC higher-ups late last fall, but the federal government, which brought the charges, will appeal this spring.

Name that bird

Several readers have contacted us to tell us our bird-spotting skills are slipping. They say Lance Beeny's photograph of a hawk, accompanying Hal Clifford's story on sage grouse (HCN, 2/4/02: Last dance for the sage grouse?) was a red-tailed, not a goshawk. Beeny says the angle and the black and white image are misleading. "There are immature red-tails that have barring on the tail, but the bars are thinner and more numerous than are the goshawk's," he says.

"Like all birders, I have strong opinions. But I'd say, you should have seen him take off and nab a mouse."

A heartwarming letter

The following letter came with a gift to the Research Fund:

        Dear

High Country News,

      Dad was an embodiment of the West. He made a living off its federal lands, securing leases that he in turn could lease to others who wanted to drill for oil. As a result, royalty checks arrived in Dad's mail every month.
      At the same time, he fell in love with the land that truly defines the West. As an oil scout for Continental Oil, living in Durango from 1949 to 1951, Dad put tens of thousands of miles on the company car traveling the dirt roads of the Four Corners region. Later, he went out on his own as an independent petroleum landman, and settled in the Evergreen area west of Denver, where he learned to love the Front Range and the continuum of mountains farther west.
      As his son, my childhood memories are filled with fishing, backpacking trips, and terrifying four-wheel-drive expeditions. These things, I think, are what made Dad truly happy.
        Though we never talked about it directly, I know Dad was troubled by the contradiction of the royalty checks that arrived each month and his love for the unspoiled wild areas of the West. His long-running subscription to

High Country News

      was one of the symptoms.
        In his latter years, he couldn't read anything except the headlines due to failing eyesight. He knew I read

HCN

        , so he resorted to quizzing me over the phone. It must have been during one of those discussions that he told me that I was to contribute a part of my inheritance to the

HCN

      Research Fund.

Paul F. Catterson died June 25, 2001, at his home in Evergreen, Colo. He was 80 years old. Please acknowledge this donation in his memory.

- Dave Catterson, Olympia, Washington

High Country News Classifieds
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Field Seminars for adults: cultural and natural history of the Colorado Plateau. With guest experts, local insights, small groups, and lodge or base camp formats....
  • PLANNED GIVING OFFICER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks a Planned Giving Officer. Do you find energy in...
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    The Methow Valley Citizens Council has a distinguished history of advocating for progressive land use and environmental values in the Methow Valley and Okanogan County...
  • ACTING INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS DESK EDITOR
    High Country News is seeking an Acting Indigenous Affairs Editor to oversee the work of our award-winning Indigenous Affairs Desk while our editor is on...
  • GRANTS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Cinnabar Foundation seeks an enthusiastic, team-oriented and knowledgeable Grants Program Director to work from their home in Montana. Established in 1983, the Cinnabar Foundation...
  • ARTEMIS PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Artemis Program Manager will work with National Wildlife Federation sporting and public lands staff to change this dynamic, continue to build upon our successful...
  • ALASKA SEA KAYAK BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Well-known and successful sea kayak, raft, hike, camp guiding & water taxi service. Sale includes everything needed to run the business, including office & gear...
  • MEMBERSHIP AND EVENTS PROGRAM COORDINATOR
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a detail-oriented and enthusiastic Membership and Events Coordinator to join our small, but mighty-fun team to oversee our membership...
  • PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT FACILITATOR
    ABOUT THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM Since opening in 1982, HIGH DESERT MUSEUM has brought together wildlife, culture, art and natural resources to promote an understanding...
  • LAND STEWARD, ARAVAIPA
    Steward will live on-site in housing provided by TNC and maintains preserve areas frequented by the visiting public and performs land management activities. The Land...
  • DEVELOPMENT WRITER
    Who We Are: The Nature Conservancy's mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we create...
  • CONNECTIVITY SCIENCE COORDINATOR
    Position type: Full time, exempt Location: Bozeman preferred; remote negotiable Compensation: $48,000 - $52,000 Benefits: Major medical insurance, up to 5% match on a 401k,...
  • EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
    ArenaLife is looking for an Executive Assistant who wants to work in a fast-paced, exciting, and growing organization. We are looking for someone to support...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Driggs, ID based non-profit. Full time. Full job description available at tvtap.org. Submit cover letter and resume to [email protected]
  • ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSTRUCTION GEOPHYSICS
    - We find groundwater, buried debris and assist with new construction projects for a fraction of drilling costs.
  • SPRING MOUNTAINS SOLAR OFF GRID MOUNTAIN HOME
    Located 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada in the pine forest of Lee Canyon at 8000 feet elevation. One of a kind property surrounded...
  • MAJOR GIFTS MANAGER - MOUNTAIN WEST, THE CONSERVATION FUND
    Cultivate, solicit and steward a portfolio of 75-125 donors.
  • NATURE'S BEST IN ARAVAIPA CANYON
    10 acre private oasis in one of Arizona's beautiful canyons. Fully furnished, 2123 sq ft architectural custom-built contemporary home with spectacular views and many extras....
  • HEALTH FOOD STORE IN NW MONTANA
    Turn-key business includes 2500 sq ft commercial building in main business district of Libby, Montana. 406.293.6771 /or [email protected]
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.