Owning a Piece of Paradise

June 13, 2005

The development boom in the West’s exurbs is draining public coffers and destroying the region’s last wide-open spaces. Also in this issue: A judge has thrown out the Bush administration’s salmon protection plan, setting the stage for dramatic changes to the federal hydropower system.


How dense can we be?
Living the good life in the ’exurbs’ is draining our tax coffers and devouring the West’s open spaces, but large-lot development continues to explode.


The best of both worlds
George Abramajtis, like most other exurbanites, loves his life in a Colorado mountain subdivision, despite the long daily commute
The end of exurbia: An interview with James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler talks about the end of oil, and how the West’s exurbs will expire when the automobile does
So far, Oregon land-use measure is more bark than bite
Oregon’s Measure 37 has so far proven less liberating than property-rights activists thought, and less destructive than sprawl-fighters feared

Editor's Note

Beyond the exurban dream
The West’s rural areas are erupting with large-lot, big, expensive homes, but the actual costs of this new rural lifestyle extend far beyond the purchase price

Uncommon Westerners

In a run-down neighborhood, there's lots of love
In a hardscrabble neighborhood in northeast Denver, Lorraine Granado fights for environmental justice


The brief but wonderful return of Cathedral in the Desert
Utah’s drought gives proof that Glen Canyon’s Cathedral in the Desert is still in liquid storage underneath Lake Powell

Book Reviews

River tales: The Rio Grande from the headwaters to the sea
In Rio Grande, editor Jan Reid has assembled a marvelous collection of essays and photos about the Southwest’s Great River
In the nation's most dangerous park, the desert's heat still beats
In Organ Pipe: Life on the Edge, Carol Ann Bassett pays homage to Organ Pipe National Monument and the strange beauty of the desert
William Henry Jackson's 'The Pioneer Photographer'
William Henry Jackson’s ‘The Pioneer Photographer’ by Bob Blair is a delightful coffee-table book that collects the photos, map sketches, paintings and notes of the West’s famous 19th century photographer
In Desire, New Mexico writer Lindsay Ahl weaves a compelling tale set in Albuquerque
Restoring a Presence: American Indians and Yellowstone National Park
In Restoring a Presence, Peter Nabokov and Lawrence Loendorf shine a light on Yellowstone’s largely forgotten American Indian heritage

Writers on the Range

I say: Good riddance to bad billboards
Wyoming’s billboards are ugly, and probably outdated, too

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Anchovies and evolution clash in Idaho; why do chickens cross the road; cockfighting in California; unexpected Arizona refunds; short enough now to fly a plane; deer meets Wal-Mart in Nebraska

Dear Friends

Dear friends
High Country News May board meeting hosts good discussion about the paper’s future; thanks, Maggie Coon and Michael Soule


For salmon, a crucial moment of decision
A judge has thrown out the Bush administration’s salmon protection plan, setting the stage for dramatic changes to the federal hydropower system
Gale Norton blasts environmentalists; California farmworkers sprayed with pesticides; ranchers have to keep paying beef checkoffs
Idaho gets smart about water
Idaho is weathering the drought by taking a new, scientific approach to managing water use among its farmers
Uranium miners go back underground
With prices rising and government support, uranium mining is booming in western Colorado
Navajos put more than 17 million acres off-limits
The Navajo Nation has banned uranium mining on the reservation, but that may not stop an already-approved mining project
Rural residents split over coalbed methane
In Montana’s Powder River County, the group Citizens for Resource Development wants to encourage coalbed methane drilling, while next door in Rosebud County, the Northern Plains Resource Council is fighting hard against it
Pueblo happily hangs on to mustard gas
The aging chemical weapons stored at the Army’s Pueblo Chemical Depot will stay in Colorado and be destroyed on site
How low will Vegas go for water?
Patricia Mulroy of the Southern Nevada Water Authority has ambitious plans for getting yet more water for Las Vegas from intake pipes in Lake Mead
Soaring home prices spur changes to environmental law
With housing prices on the rise in the state, the California Environmental Quality Act is under attack


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