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Know the West

Risky business

  Dear HCN,

A recent letter to the editor in HCN belittled collaborative groups that try to solve natural resource conflicts as being too small and too slow. I ask, which is more effective: slow, steady progress, or rapid suit and countersuit that characterize our current attempts to control resources? Are the salmon making a comeback while the "sides' duke it out in court?

There are some serious drawbacks to the collaborative group management approach. It takes guts. It takes initiative. It takes independent thinking and willingness to question your own prejudices. It takes an ability to accept ridicule and expulsion from your "side" for daring to question the party line. It is also a lousy membership and fund-raising platform. It just works.

New ways are always ridiculed by those who have the most to lose by their acceptance. Ask yourself, who is it that stands to lose if local, collaborative management becomes the norm?

Karen C. Riggs

Willcox, Arizona