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.

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

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

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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    1400 sf of habitable space in a custom-designed eco-home created and completed by a published L.A. architect in 1997-99. Nestled within its own 80-acre mountain...
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    We are hiring a Wyoming Conservation Associate Full time, competitive pay and benefits. Location: Cody, WY (preferred), Jackson, WY, or Lander, WY Visit www.greateryellowstone.org/careers for...
  • SOUTHWEST REGIONAL DIRECTOR
    The National Parks Conservation Association, the nations leading national park advocacy organization, seeks a Regional Director to lead and manage staff for the Southwest Regional...
  • DIRECTOR OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
    This newly created position with The Nature Conservancy's Colorado River Program will play a key role in the development and implementation of strategies to achieve...
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    The Foundation NoVo Foundation acts from the original meaning of philanthropy: the love of humanity. The Foundation is dedicated to catalyzing a global social transformation...
  • ARMY OF THE DOG
    A new generation of monkey wrenchers hits the Front Range?
  • ANNIE CLARK TANNER FELLOWSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES
    The Tanner Humanities Center and the Environmental Humanities Program of the University of Utah seek an environmental writer to offer classes in Utahs Environmental Humanities...
  • ALASKA STATE DIRECTOR
    The Wilderness Society works to protect Wildlands and inspire Americans to care for our public lands. We seek to hire a strategic, experienced leader who...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) seeks an individual to lead this 45-year-old organization as executive director, to carry on ICLs work as Idahos leading voice...
  • IDAHO RIVERFRONT:
    2+ acres, 400+ feet on Snake River, 2800 sf residence, NWF-certified wildlife habitat, excellent hunting, fishing, birdwatching, stargazing, sunsets & panoramic views. In the heart...
  • WILDEARTH GUARDIANS IS EXPANDING - THREE JOB OPENINGS
    Guardians is expanding and looking for a few great people to join us in protecting and restoring the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health...
  • SUNNYSIDE MARKET SEEKS NEW PROPRIETOR
    Organic grocery/cafe at Glacier Bay needs a vibrant leader. Love good food, community, and Alaska? Join us!
  • NO INDIVIDUAL HEROES: OURAY MOUNTAIN RESCUE TEAM
    Ouray County, Colorado, a popular tourist destination, has dramatic mountains and amazing winter ice climbing. Challenging terrain and high altitude can push visitors to their...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM ASSOCIATE - TAHOE AREA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Associate-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM COORDINATOR - TAHOE AREA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Coordinator-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM MANAGER - TAHOE AREA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Manager-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM ASSOCIATE, SOUTHERN CA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Associate-Southern CA. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • THE BOOK OF BARLEY -
    Collector's Item! The story of barley, the field crop. 50 years of non-fiction research. www.barleybook.com
  • RIVER TRIP LEADER & EDUCATOR
    Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a growing nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...
  • RIVER GUIDE AND EDUCATOR
    Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a growing nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...