Dear Friends

  • A BIRD IN HAND: George Covington's Dem daughter can hold her own with a pheasant

    George Covington
  • FIVE GOATS IN A TREE: Will and Faith Spencer spend time with tree-hugging goats in Morocco

    Alice Spencer
  • Diane Sylvain

The defrost cycle
First, a little follow-up to Jeffrey Lockwood’s cover story in the last issue, (HCN, 2/3/03: The death of the Super Hopper). Locusts aren’t the only things being disgorged by glaciers as global warming takes its toll on the West’s alpine ice. The Los Angeles Times reported in January that scientists are scouring the glaciers like old ladies at a yard sale, finding everything from Stone Age darts, arrows and spears, to “a zoo of perfectly mummified animals: fish, wapiti, sheep, mountain goats, moose, voles and birds.”

One of the most recent finds was a gigantic mound of caribou dung, which melted out of a glacier in Canada’s remote Yukon Territory. It was an odd place to find caribou poop, said biologist Gerry Kuzyk, who was out hiking with his wife when he stumbled upon the eight-foot-high, half-mile-long band of droppings; there had been no caribou in the area for more than a century. Researchers have since traced it to waves of migrating caribou that came through thousands of years ago.

“For most scientists, from ecologists to climate experts, the warming of the planet is a disturbing trend that could alter the environment radically,” wrote the Times. “But for archaeologists, it has prompted a breathtaking treasure hunt.”

Postcards from the edge
We’re not sure what we’ve done to deserve this, but the mail continues to roll in from readers around the West and across the country — letters of praise, scolding, concern and a few slightly off-kilter ones we thought we’d share.

Subscriber George M. Covington of Lake Bluff, Ill., wrote in response to a photo we ran in Dear Friends late last year of Idaho’s Marden Phelps holding a shotgun. Phelps had sent us the self-portrait in response to an op-ed that wondered why Democratic political candidates weren’t appealing to hunters (HCN, 11/11/02: Break open the gates). Covington wanted us to know that Phelps isn’t the only Democrat who’s not afraid of firearms: “I enclose a picture of my Democrat daughter wringing the neck of a pheasant her Democrat father shot,” he wrote. “Who says Democrats don’t love blood sports? We’re just smart enough to know that there won’t be any places left to enjoy them in if the country keeps electing Republicans.”

On the subject of subscribers’ kids, we couldn’t resist sharing the photo New York City subscriber Alice Spencer included with a holiday card. While visiting Morocco last year, her kids, Will and Faith, were taken with the curious grazing habits of the local goats. (“Yes, those are goats in the trees,” Alice writes.) Say what you will about cows on the public lands — at least they don’t climb trees!

Kudos to longtime HCN subscriber and friend Connie Harvey of Aspen, Colo., who recently accepted an Award for Excellence on behalf of the Aspen Wilderness Foundation. The award was given by the Aspen International Mountain Foundation in recognition of the United Nation’s International Year of Mountains.

Former HCN intern Rob Bleiburg, executive director if the Mesa Land Trust in Palisade, Colo., made headlines recently. His group just won a Land Conservation Excellency Award from the statewide Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts. Started in 1980 by a group of local landowners, the land trust now holds 63 conservation easements on 40,000 acres.

And congrats to longtime forest-protection activist Steve Holmer and his wife, Beth Daly, on the birth of their twins, Traci and Ginger. Steve will be leaving his position at American Lands, but says he plans to “continue working as a part-time volunteer — in between feedings and diaper changes.”

We were saddened to hear of the death of Farley Sheldon, a longtime subscriber and supporter of HCN. We send our best to her daughter, Hunter Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and the rest of Farley’s family and friends.

Jeremy Rubingh and Maya Fulton from Crested Butte, Colo., stopped by the office to see how things work in Paonia. Maya, an intern at the Crested Butte News, promised she’d be back in five years — to work at HCN.

Emily Tracy stopped in after an unsuccessful campaign for Colorado State House District 60. Emily, a Democrat, lives in Cañon City and has been active in the fight against plans by the Cotter Corp. to store toxic waste from New Jersey at a uranium mill near her town.

Subscribers Steve Nemeth and Tamara Simon from Denver dropped by the office a while back.

David and Gudy Gaskill stopped by to say hello to longtime friends Ed and Betsy Marston, and to drop off a copy of their new book, Peaceful Canyon, Golden River: A Photographic Journey Through Fabled Glen Canyon.

And Nat Miullo dropped in to pick up a copy of our booklet, Coalbed Methane Boom, a collection of stories from the newspaper covering the West’s latest energy push. Nat works for the Environmental Protection Agency’s ecosystem protection program in Denver, and was attending public meetings addressing coalbed methane development here in the North Fork Valley.

Tune in!
Radio High Country News continues to ripple across the Western airwaves. Public radio station KRCL in Salt Lake City, Utah, is now running the show at noon each Thursday. Salt Lakers can find KRCL at 90.9 FM, and Park City residents can tune in at 96.5 FM.

Colorado listeners can now catch the show on KGYT (otherwise known as “the goat”), at 102.7 FM, in Idaho Springs, Dumont, Downeyville, Lawson, Empire, Georgetown, Silver Plume and Bakerville. Air times will be announced soon.

Finally, KMUN in coastal Oregon and Washington has changed its broadcast time to Friday at 4:00 in the afternoon.

Stimulate the minds and the bodies of your community

Has the conversation at your local coffeehouse become as stale as a day-old doughnut? Maybe what it needs is a stimulating copy of High Country News in the rack or on the table. To set up your hangout with a complimentary subscription to HCN, please drop us a call, e-mail or letter with its name, address and phone number. If you feel comfortable approaching the store owner or manager yourself, we’ll send you two copies of a recent issue; or we’ll contact them directly from Paonia. For more information, call the circulation staff at 1-800-905-1155, e-mail [email protected] or write us at HCN, P.O. Box 1090, Paonia, CO 81428.

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