Dear friends

  • Photo illustration of Super Hopper

    Courtesy Finney County Historical Museum
 

A wintry gathering

As a gentle snow fell from a gray winter sky, 130 High Country News readers and friends jammed into the Cache La Poudre Grange in Bellvue, Colo., just outside Fort Collins. They brought splendid food and drink (thanks, New Belgium Brewery!), and a bevy of story ideas for the HCN staff. Issues on readers’ minds included the lightning-fast sprawl of subdivisions between Denver and Fort Collins; the ongoing drought, which is already closing parks and golf courses; and the recreation and wildlife programs on national forests, which have taken a hit as the Forest Service has shifted funds to fighting fires.

The Feb. 8 potluck, and a High Country Foundation board meeting earlier in the day, were organized by Rick and Heather Knight, who are both active in private-land protection on the Front Range. Heather works for The Nature Conservancy. Rick teaches wildlife biology and land stewardship courses at Colorado State University, and treated the staff and board to a sobering lunchtime talk about the growing population pressures in the American West.

When they weren’t eating or listening, the eight attending members of the High Country Foundation board of directors approved a break-even, $1.6 million 2003 budget, and engaged in a spirited discussion of all activities at HCN.

These included: The health of the newspaper’s circulation — the paper now goes out to 22,400 people, and seems to be holding steady; preliminary ideas for redesigning the newspaper; the Writers on the Range column syndicate — in January, The Salt Lake Tribune became the 78th Western newspaper to subscribe; Radio High Country News — the show is heard weekly on 31 public radio stations, the newest of which is KHSU in Humboldt County, Calif., and southern Oregon; and the early returns on the relaunched Web site, hcn.org — folks have been steadily signing up for on-line subscriptions since we started offering them in January.

The board also voted in a slate of five new board members: Mark Harvey of Aspen, Colo., David Nimkin of Salt Lake City, Utah, Loris Taylor of Kykotsmovi, Ariz., Daniel Luecke of Boulder, Colo., and Marcus Sani of Dana Point, Calif.

An outpouring of support

This issue marks the official end of HCN's Spreading the News Campaign, our yearlong effort to provide a financial base for the new media projects and the intern program. The campaign has been a wonderful success. Readers contributed more last year than in any year in HCN’s 33-year history. For that we can’t thank you enough, though we try on the back page of this issue.

The end of the campaign doesn’t mean that HCN no longer needs your support. Your gifts to our annual Research Fund drive still provide the basic resources to pay our writers and photographers — be on the lookout for a mailing this month. Also, we’re continuing our effort to create an intern endowment that will keep budding journalists and activists coming to HCN for decades to come. Contact Development Director Gretchen Aston-Puckett ([email protected] or 970/527-4898) if you are interested in contributing.

We can’t get away with anything

Several readers wrote to remind us that Teddy Roosevelt created the nation’s first national wildlife refuge — at Florida’s Pelican Island in 1903 — not the first national park, as we stated in the Feb. 3 edition. And salmon are not barged upstream, past dams on the Columbia River, as we wrote in the Feb. 17 issue. "Salmon have to be barged downstream as juveniles to get past slack water created by all the dams. Fish ladders are sufficient to get adults past the dams (on the way upstream)," wrote Adrian Pfisterer.

And this note came from Ron Hilliard of Vail, Ariz., about Jeffrey Lockwood’s cover story, "The Death of the Super Hopper" (HCN, 2/3/03: The Death of the Super Hopper). "I was distracted by Lockwood’s statement about there being 10 billion grasshoppers in the great flight that encompassed as estimated 200,000 square miles and eclipsed the sun. A little back-of-the-envelope math reveals that would be roughly one grasshopper per 1,000 square feet of sky, so they must have been the size of a Boeing 707 in those days to block the sun!"

"No problem!" responds Lockwood, explaining how he calculated the size and density of the swarm of Rocky Mountain locusts. The short version is this: "My final estimate was intended to be extremely conservative, as it was originally developed for a more scientific audience where liberality in such matters is not warmly embraced."

And in case anyone missed it, the cover photo illustrating that story was a cartoon. If the gargantuan grasshopper didn’t give it away, the train it was attacking should have. Reader W.H. Wolverton of Escalante, Utah, points out that the Santa Fe locomotive was built in the early 1900s, after the Rocky Mountain locust was extinct.

High Country News Classifieds
  • LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    The Land and Water Conservation Director is a full-time salaried position with the Mountain Area Land Trust in Evergreen, CO. The successful candidate will have...
  • ARIZONA PROGRAM MANAGER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks an Arizona Program Manager. The Arizona Program Manager works...
  • CROWN OF THE CONTINENT COMMUNITY CONSERVATION SPECIALIST
    THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY is seeking a Community Conservation Specialist, for the Crown of the Continent DEPARTMENT: Conservation CLASSIFICATION: Grade 6 Specialist/Representative (Low of $54K) REPORTS...
  • ASSISTANT FARM DIRECTOR
    About The Organization Building community through fresh vegetables is at the heart of the Sisters-based non-profit, Seed to Table Oregon. Based on a four-acre diversified...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • DYNAMIC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    VARD is seeking an Executive Director to lead a small legal & planning staff dedicated to the health and sustainability of Teton Valley Idaho and...
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR
    Southeast Alaska Conservation is hiring. Visit https://www.seacc.org/about/hiring for info. 907-586-6942 [email protected]
  • FINANCE & GRANTS MANAGER
    The Blackfoot Challenge, located in Ovando, MT, seeks a self-motivated, detail-oriented individual to conduct bookkeeping, financial analysis and reporting, and grant oversight and management. Competitive...
  • WADE LAKE CABINS, CAMERON MT
    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....
  • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, BOOKS, CULTURE AND COMMENTARY (PART-TIME, CONTRACT)
    High Country News is seeking a Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary to assign and edit inquisitive, inspiring, and thought-provoking content for HCN in...
  • STATEWIDE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    ABOUT US Better Wyoming is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes Wyoming residents on behalf of statewide change. Learn more at...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    TwispWorks is a 501(c)3 that promotes economic and cultural vitality in the mountainous Methow Valley, the eastern gateway to North Cascades National Park in Washington...
  • CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATE OR DIRECTOR
    Location: Helena, Montana Type: Permanent, full time after 1-year probationary period. Reports to: Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state...
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Restore Hetch Hetchy, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, seeks experienced development professional to identify and engage individuals and institutions who are inspired to help underwrite...
  • PUBLIC LANDS COUNSEL
    The successful candidate will be the organization's lead counsel on public lands issues, including reviewing federal administrative actions and proposed policy and helping to shape...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR
    Solar Energy International (SEI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit education organization with a mission to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower...
  • TRAINING MANAGER
    This is a full-time position based out of our Paonia office. This position is responsible for organizing all of Solar Energy International's renewable energy trainings....
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org