Dear Friends

  • Tom Bell and High Country News board members in Moose



The High Country News board and staff couldn’t have wished for a better weekend — or a better location — for the fall ’03 board meeting. Fifteen board members, eight staffers, and HCN founder Tom Bell all gathered at the Murie Ranch, just inside Grand Teton National Park, near Moose, Wyo., to talk business.

The ranch is the home of Mardy Murie, 101-year-old author and conservation pioneer. While Mardy was not well enough to join us, her half-sister, Louise Murie MacLeod, 91, a conservationist in her own right, attended a dinner the night before the meeting.

The ranch, now the property of the Park Service, is also home to the Murie Center. Director Nancy Shea told us that the ranch will be preserved as a monument to the American conservation movement — luminaries ranging from Aldo Leopold to Terry Tempest Williams have spent time here — and a place to teach about environmental values.

Board and staffers bunked in the cabins that dot the property, where we were serenaded at night by coyotes and bugling elk.

Tom Bell, a wildlife biologist, asked us to include more coverage of global warming and its impacts on the Western landscape. “Researchers are finding that trout are moving upstream, toward cooler water. Pikas are dying,” he said. “The sage grouse are going to disappear. That breaks my heart. As a kid growing up on a ranch in Wyoming, I saw thousands of them. Not any more.”

He encouraged the HCN staff to continue to shed light on the Bush administration’s environmental policies: “Charge on. Really get aggressive,” he said. “You can’t be partisan, but you can put out the kind of articles that will make people see what’s going on.”

After the meeting, a potluck dinner at Dornans Store in Moose attracted a small crowd of HCN readers, who shared story ideas and great food. Many thanks to all who attended — and to the folks at the Murie Center, who were such gracious hosts.


The path to HCN’s door is so well-worn, we’ve had a hard time squeezing all the visitors’ names into this column. Josh and Michelle Melnick from New York stopped in and promised to share HCN with other East Coast folks on the subway. We also got visits from Mike Johaneson of Castle Rock, Colo., and Darrell Floyd of Palos Verdes, Calif.

Becky and Charlie Goff from Salida, Colo., stopped in on their way back from Yellowstone National Park, along with friends Jeannie and Jim Snow. Alice Temple and Frank Herdman dropped by from Santa Fe, and David Haines came through to escape the 100-degree-plus temperatures in Phoenix, Ariz.

Timmie Schramm of Durango, Colo., and Steve Lesjak of Phoenix were on their way home from a John Denver tribute in Aspen, when they paid a visit. John Helpin of Bisbee, Ariz., and Betsy Whittemore of New Hartford, Conn., told us about John’s efforts to start a community radio station in Bisbee.

Longtime subscriber Paul Clement from Santa Monica, Calif., says his knees don’t let him run around the canyon country any more, but he’s still a big supporter of protecting more of it as wilderness. Mary Anne and Leo Gemma of Lakewood, Colo., stopped in while leaf-peeping.

And we found this note from Alice Temple and Frank Herdman from Santa Fe, who came through Paonia with their friend, Charles, and their dogs, Lucy and Ethel: “Sorry to hear about Radio HCN. We loved to listen to the show.”

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