Magazine
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.

Feature

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.

Sidebar

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

Essays

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

Writers on the Range

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Wyoming’s billboards are ugly, and probably outdated, too

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
Desire
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

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

News

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
Follow-up
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

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • OWN YOUR OWN CANYON - 1400 SF STRAW-BALE ECO-HOME ON 80 ACRES - 3 HOURS FROM L.A.
    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...
  • WYOMING CONSERVATION ASSOCIATE
    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...
  • PROGRAM OFFICER, INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES, NOVO FOUNDATION
    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
  • TEMPORARY ASSISTANT EDITOR
    Are you a climber and a writer who is passionate about mountain literature? Do you love searching through old alpine journals for stories of esoteric...
  • 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...