Dear Friends

  • Toby Harshaw with the latest HCN



The staff of High Country News cordially invites all readers and friends to HCN’s holiday open house at our Paonia, Colo., office (119 Grand Ave.) on Monday, Dec. 15. Knock back a few eggnogs with the entire HCN crew between 5 and 7:30 p.m. Please bring a treat to share. We’ll provide drinks.


Toby Harshaw, who visited the office recently, was wowed by the Colorado Rockies; he described the drive over two mountain passes from Denver as "terrifying." We’re sure we would find driving through his neck of the woods just as frightening: Toby works on the editorial pages at The New York Times. He was out trying to get his finger on the pulse of the West.

Longtime Bureau of Land Management employee John Singlaub dropped in recently. As a BLM manager, John enlisted grassroots groups to help with everything from building an award-winning mountain bike trail, to keeping Nevada’s Walker Lake alive. John is about to start a new career as the director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Rea Orthner, a plant ecologist from Rollinsville, Colo., also stopped by. She told us she likes the new design, except for the size: The smaller paper is no good for plant presses.


Veteran Utah wilderness advocate Dick Carter of Hyrum recently won the American Land Conservation Award and a $50,000 grant, from the Catto Charitable Foundation. Carter is a rarity in Utah — someone who has succeeded in getting wilderness protected in a state where such efforts have been deadlocked for two decades. He was the primary architect of the 1978 law that designated Lone Peak as Utah’s first wilderness area, and also led the effort to create the 1984 Utah Wilderness Act, which protected 774,000 acres of national forest wilderness. More recently, Carter has been trying to help the federal government acquire blocks of state land within national forests and parks.

Congratulations, too, to HCN’s outreach director, Deb French, who just won the Colorado Organization for Victims Assistance’s 2003 Exemplary Leadership Award. The award recognized her work in a "former life" — it was given because of her efforts to prevent sexual assault, when she was director of the Injury Prevention Program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.


Ronni Egan, executive director of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, wrote to tell us that the permit for the San Juan ATV Safari in September was for 350 participants, not 2,000, as we’d said in the Sept. 15 "Dear Friends."

Steve Andreas wrote to correct our Oct. 13 story, "Contamination uncovered at Energy office," in which we called beryllium a heavy metal: "With atomic number 4 and atomic weight 9, only three elements are lighter than beryllium, so by no stretch of the imagination is it a heavy metal!"

Finally, William Brace, a reader from Oak Park, Ill., wrote in appreciation of Dave Frey’s essay about Route 666 (HCN, 9/15/03: The Highway of the Beast). "The Highway of the Beast in a religious context hasn’t bothered me, and as do you, I look upon it as a highway to a rugged, struggling, beautiful, barren land that I love," he wrote. "Unfortunately, I have (also) long considered U.S. 666 as a highway of danger and death because of the speeding and drinking connected with it. The Navajo and New Mexico police don’t seem to care or, as with many other problems, there just isn’t enough money to patrol the highway."

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