Magazine
Write-off on the Range

May 30, 2005

In Montana’s Madison County, Reid Rosenthal uses conservation easements to help the land — and make his investors rich. Also in this issue: Facing severe budget cuts, the Forest Service is selling off property, and considering closing some recreation sites it considers too expensive to maintain.

Feature

Write-off on the Range
In Montana’s Madison County, Reid Rosenthal uses conservation easements to help the land — and make his investors rich

Sidebar

Conservation Easement Statistics
Statistics from the Land Trust Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service
Congress looks to reform a system with no steering wheel
A proposal to overhaul the tax rules around conservation easements has private-land conservationists worried, but recent financial scandals show the need for some reform
Colorado tax credits make easements work for working people
Conservation easements are considered the domain of the wealthy, but in Colorado, tax credits are helping farmers like Dorothy and Norman Kehmeier preserve their family’s land.
How to Examine Conservation Easements
Conservation easements are often a closed book if you're not one deal makers. Here are a few tips on how to examine a conservation easement in your area.

Editor's Note

A call for modest reform
The time is ripe for moderate reform of the conservation easement system

Uncommon Westerners

A glimpse of the past in a grain of pollen
Montana paleoecologist Cathy Whitlock studies the recent geological past and looks for clues to the future of the West

Essays

Starry Eyes
When it comes to perfect starry nights, the West is always the winner

Book Reviews

Bringing back the wolf = bringing back the habitat
In Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wolf to Yellowstone, biologist Douglas Smith and nature writer Gary Ferguson seek to separate myth from reality in the long and turbulent saga of the wolf
A view of the West from on high
In his essay collection Dragons in Paradise, George Sibley reminisces about his years in the funky mountain ski town of Crested Butte, Colorado
The Singing Life of Birds
The Singing Life of Birds by Donald Kroodsma explores the varieties of birdsong, and even includes a CD of nearly 100 songs
Little Things in a Big Country: An Artist and Her Dog on the Rocky Mountain Front
In Little Things in a Big Country, Hannah Hinchman shares a beautifully hand-drawn, hand-lettered journal of her adventures in Montana with her dog, Sisu
Wild Echoes: Encounters With the Most Endangered Animals in North America
In Wild Echoes, Charles Bergman describes his up-close experiences with endangered creatures that range from black-footed ferrets and California condors to the manatees of Florida

Writers on the Range

Ego gates get my goat — and that's just the beginning
Why do newcomers to the West need to build such obnoxious entrance gates to their brand-new ranchettes?

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Snowmobiling sans snow; Las Vegas "condiments"; wacky weather in Washington; burritos, bears and school lockdowns; wrapping glaciers in Switzerland; Salazar takes on the Family; good manners ease highway screw-up

Dear Friends

Dear friends
Welcome to summer interns Tony Barboza and Patrick Farrell; visitors; Grist wins Web site award

News

For sale: Your local ranger station?
Facing severe budget cuts, the Forest Service is selling off property, and considering closing some recreation sites it considers too expensive to maintain
Follow-up
Fish farms spread sea lice to wild salmon; Intermountain Rural Electric Association votes to exempt itself from Colorado’s renewable energy standard; New Mexico rancher Kit Laney is leaving the country
Moab: On the horns of a recreation dilemma
Some of the residents of the Moab, Utah, area are losing patience with out-of-control off-highway recreation, and looking to the BLM to bring things under control
Learning from Moab's example
In the North Fruita Desert of western Colorado, the BLM has come up with a plan to enable motorized and non-motorized recreationists to share the outdoors
A massive restoration program may have nothing left to save
Fish populations are plunging in the California Delta even as the CalFed Bay-Delta Authority considers exporting yet more water
State takes another shot at land swapping
The Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act would give the BLM some prime recreation areas in the southeastern part of the state in exchange for oil-rich land in the Uintah Basin
Mountain bike association wheels into national parks
The National Park Service has agreed to explore opening some of the parks to mountain biking
Revamped road to Chaco may be the park's ruin
Archaeologists are worried that a plan to upgrade the 16-mile gravel road to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico could lead to more tourism and possibly harm the park’s fragile ruins
Tax credits make eco-logging pay
The U.S. Treasury Department has given $50 million in tax credits to Ecotrust to help depressed Northwestern timber towns carry out sustainable logging

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