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Wyoming’s billboards are ugly, and probably outdated, too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
  • NEWS DIRECTOR
    Based in the state capitol, Boise State Public Radio is the premier NPR affiliate in Idaho. With 18 transmitters and translators, it reaches 2/3rds of...
  • INTERNET-BASED BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Dream of owning your own business, being your own boss, working from home... this is the one.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR MOJAVE DESERT LAND TRUST
    Organization Background: The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization, founded in 2006. Our mission is to protect the ecosystems of the...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    If you are deeply committed to public service and would like to become part of our high performing, passionate and diverse team, NCAT is looking...
  • TRIPLEX .8 ACRE KANAB, UT
    Create a base in the center of Southern Utah's Grand Circle of National Parks. Multiple residential property with three established rental units and zoning latitude...
  • FORGE & FAB SHOP
    with home on one beautiful acre in Pocatello, ID. Blackrock Forge - retiring after 43 years! Fully equipped 5,500 sf shop including office, gallery and...
  • SMALL FARM AT THE BASE OF MOUNT SHASTA
    Certified organic fruit/berry/veggie/flower farm. Home, barns, garage, separate apt, more. Just under 2 ac, edge of town. Famously pure air and water. Skiing, mountaineering, bike,...
  • FOREST STEWARDSHIP PROJECT DIRECTOR
    Become a force for nature and a healthy planet by joining the Arizona Chapter as Forest Stewardship Project Director. You will play a key role...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Ranchers Stewardship Alliance is accepting applications for an Executive Director. This position will provide leadership to RSA, develop a fund raising plan, and effectively communicate...
  • WRITING PLACE: THE ANIMAS RIVER REGION WRITING WORKSHOP
    REGISTER ONLINE BY: Friday, June 15 WHERE: Durango, CO (location TBD) WHEN: Monday, July 16 Youth workshop: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. (18 and under,...
  • EQUITY IN THE OUTDOORS COORDINATOR
    The Equity in the Outdoors Coordinator will lead community engagement, program implementation and development, and data collection for the Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement (EVOM). EVOM...
  • COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ASSISTANT
    The Idaho Conservation League is seeking a personable individual who is passionate about conservation to join our Sandpoint Field Office. The Community Engagement Assistant will...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT FLY ROD CASES
    4 standard or custom lengths. Rugged protection for backpacking. Affordable pricing.
  • EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION INTERN/ASSISTANT
    Actively introduce students to Experiential Education, Outdoor Recreation, and Sustainability while engaging and challenging them to learn and participate in these diverse opportunities. Room, board,...
  • ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTIGATIVE MEDIA SERVICES
    In-depth investigations of polluters, lobbyists, regulators, elected officials and others focused on environmentally damaging projects in the U.S. and internationally. We specialize in mining projects,...
  • UNDEVELOPED 40 ACRES - SOUTHWEST COLORADO
    in beautiful Montezuma County.
  • TRUCK DRIVER
    Class A & B drivers, pass all DOT requirements and clean driving record
  • MARIA'S BOOKSHOP FOR SALE
    - Thriving Indie bookstore in the heart of Durango, Colorado. General bookstore with 34-year history as a community hub for Southwest region of CO. 1800...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    HawkWatch International seeks an experienced fundraiser to join our awesome team! This position will provide support in all aspects of the department. We are looking...
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    will develop and execute Wild Utah Projects fundraising plan. Call, email or check full description of job online for more details: