Magazine
Calling It Quits

April 4, 2005

Tough economics, drought, and increasing clashes with other public-lands users are leading some ranchers to consider taking the "golden saddle" – a check from conservationists in exchange for their grazing permits. Also in this issue: Two researchers say that the "Sustainable Slopes" program, touted by the National Ski Areas Association as a sign of the industry’s environmental responsibility, is little more than "greenwashing."

Feature

The Big Buyout
Tough economics, drought, and increasing clashes with other public-lands users are leading some ranchers to consider taking the "golden saddle" – a check from conservationists in exchange for their grazing permits

Sidebar

Buyouts by the numbers
The various grazing buyout proposals offer different amounts to ranchers in exchange for retiring their grazing permits
One BLM district grabs the bull by the horns
On the Upper Deschutes area of Oregon, the Bureau of Land Management is working to move cows off the public land
Public-lands ranchers: Should you trust this man?
Paul Larmer interviews longtime activist Andy Kerr, director of the National Public Lands Grazing Campaign, about grazing buyouts and the future of public-lands ranching

Editor's Note

Grazing buyouts help land and ranchers
Some Western ranchers, fed up with economic problems and other conflicts, are handing over their grazing allotments to conservation groups in exchange for a healthy check

Uncommon Westerners

Saving Maidu culture, one seedling at a time
Lorena Gorbet, a Mountain Maidu Indian, has dedicated her life to saving her tribal culture through forest management in the Feather River area of Northern California

Essays

The Far East yearns for the wild West
The Wild West lives on in a distinctly Eastern way at Western Village in Imaichi, Japan, sister city of Rapid City, S.D.

Book Reviews

Showdown over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and its people
Caribou Rising by Rick Bass is an impassioned plea on behalf of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Gwich’in people who have hunted caribou there for thousands of years
The best thing since dams: pouring water underground
In Common Waters, Diverging Streams William Blomquist, Edella Schlager, and Tanya Heikkila argue on behalf of "conjunctive management" – coordinating the use of surface water with underground aquifers
Santa Fe Hispanic Culture: Preserving Identity in a Tourist Town
Santa Fe Hispanic Culture: Preserving Identity in a Tourist Town by Andrew Leo Lovato explores the way Santa Fe, N.M., both preserves and exploits its colorful past
Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life
In Diminished Democracy, Harvard University professor Theda Skocpol considers the decline of volunteerism in American life, and what it means for the nation’s democracy
Common Southwestern Native Plants: An Identification Guide
In Common Southwestern Plants, Jack L. Carter, Martha A. Carter and Donna J. Stevens have created a user-friendly botanical guide

Writers on the Range

Do you want fries with that mustang?
A rider in the federal spending bill will end a 34-year-old ban on selling wild horses for slaughter

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Only resident of Monowi, Neb., loves it, but other Great Plains towns struggle to attract people; "no intelligent life out here" is right; no plastic surgery for Hollywood pets; Glenwood Springs, Colo., cops catch Denver bad guy; "low-cow" Internet in Hot

Dear Friends

Dear friends
Tragedy in Paonia; visitors; "Starting West" conference at Stanford discusses frustration; clarification from BLM; Happy 35th birthday, HCN

News

The last happy agency biologist — and other April Foolery
Biologist Mark Intyme is marking time; "Termoonator" takes on wolves; coorections; "Million Bush March" and other oddities
Developer under fire for destroying desert
Developer George Johnson is being sued by the state of Arizona for major violations of environmental laws, committed in the early stages of his planned La Osa Ranch development
Ski areas' 'green' image not backed by action
Two researchers say that the "Sustainable Slopes" program, touted by the National Ski Areas Association as a sign of the industry’s environmental responsibility, is little more than "greenwashing"
Rock jocks fight a mining company
Resolution Copper Company is trying to obtain a land swap in order to mine at Arizona’s Oak Flat campground, a popular rock-climbing spot
The public pays to keep water in a river
Three important "takings" lawsuits claim farmers should be compensated when water is withheld from irrigators in order to help endangered species during times of drought
Who owns Klamath water — farmers or the public?
A judge rules that Pacific Coast fishermen can intervene as a third party in a lawsuit between Klamath River Basin farmers and the federal government

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
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    Position Title: Communications Associate Director Location: Flexible within the Western U.S., Durango, CO preferred Position reports to: Senior Communications Director The Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF)...
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    S. Az ghost town seeking full-time caretaker. Contact [email protected] for details.
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    Basic Summary: The Vice President for Landscape Conservation is based in the Washington, D.C., headquarters and oversees Defenders' work to promote landscape-scale wildlife conservation, focusing...
  • BRISTOL BAY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Seeking a program director responsible for developing and implementing all aspects of the Alaska Chapter's priority strategy for conservation in the Bristol Bay region of...
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    The National Bighorn Sheep Center is looking for an Executive Director to take us forward into the new decade with continued strong leadership and vision:...
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    The Powder Basin Watershed Council, based in Baker City, Oregon, seeks a new Executive Director with a passion for rural communities, water, and working lands....
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    Powder River Basin Resource Council, a progressive non-profit conservation organization based in Sheridan, Wyoming, seeks an Executive Director, preferably with grassroots organizing experience, excellent communication...
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    Passive solar adobe home in high desert of central New Mexico. Located on a 10,000 acre cattle ranch.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition, based in Ely, Nevada is looking for a new executive director to replace the long-time executive director who is retiring at...
  • STEVE HARRIS, EXPERIENCED PUBLIC LANDS/ENVIRONMENTAL ATTORNEY
    Comment Letters - Admin Appeals - Federal & State Litigation - FOIA -
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  • CARETAKER
    2.0 acre homestead needing year-round caretaker in NE Oregon. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • SEEKING PROPERTY FOR BISON HERD
    Seeking additional properties for a herd of 1,000 AUM minimum. Interested in partnering with landowners looking to engage in commercial and/or conservation bison ranching. Location...
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.