Visitors going and coming

  • Nick Berling leaving Paonia.

    Jeff Chen

On his way out of town, Nick Berling stopped into HCN's headquarters in Paonia, Colo. He had just quit his job on a local farm and was Boulder-bound — picking up the books again to study environmental engineering at the University of Colorado. Nick is an avid skier and an artist.

While hunting for property in Paonia, outdoorsy siblings Gordy Long and Bonnie Semro came by to say hello. Gordy, who has the telltale perma-tan of a river guide, lives in nearby Montrose. He has been facilitating outdoor adventures for people with disabilities for 25 years. Bonnie, a Denver resident, works for the Park Service.

Writer and gourmand Betty Fussell of New York, N.Y., recently sent us a note: "In my book Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef (2008, Harcourt) I mention Paonia, Homestead Market and High Country News all in one breath and all in words of praise." Homestead Market is HCN's next-door neighbor, the place in Delta County to get organic local steaks, and its proprietors would surely agree with Betty's thoughts on the value of red meat. "Real American men, women and children eat steak because it's red with blood, blood that pumps flavor, iron, vitality, and sex into flaccid bodies," she writes. "For women, steak is better than spinach. For men, it's better than Viagra. With steak, it's easy to get carried away."

Leo Goebel, visionary tree farmer, died recently in Joseph, Ore. Leo grew up in eastern Washington, where he learned to log with a crosscut saw and a team of horses. He earned a master of science degree in geology from the University of Oregon, taught high school math and science, and logged on weekends and during the summer. With his business partner, Bob Jackson, Leo managed an award-winning tree farm, 160 acres of fir, ponderosa pine and larch on the north slope of Washington's Wallowa Mountains. Leo's wife, Marilyn, and their five kids also helped work the farm. Leo and Bob developed a forest-management style that emphasizes old growth and complexity, and, over the long run, allows for high timber production. "Leo never stopped trying to know everything about his tree farm," writes Phil Brick, professor of politics at Washington's Whitman College, "and he had the humility to recognize that the more he learned, the more he did not know."

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