Some rocks need a makeover

  Dear HCN,


I am very disappointed that High Country News, just as many other newspapers, has fallen for the news releases of Rep. Jack Metcalf, R-Wash., regarding rock "painting" on national forest lands along Stevens Pass Scenic Byway, as portrayed in your Barb (HCN, 8/21/95). You need to check the facts.


The rocks were to be stained with a water-based spray of Permeon, not painted. The rocks were to be so treated because of "scaling" of unstable rocks on the mountainside would create unnatural new scarring along a Scenic Byway. The Washington State Transportation Department and the U.S. Forest Service had mutually agreed to do this rock staining on the state's project affecting about 1 acre of national forest lands. The Forest Service is obligated by its forest plans to maintain a certain level of scenic quality. NEPA also requires mitigation of environmental impacts.


The Forest Service makes mistakes, but this is one case where they did not and they should be supported by media concerned about the environment - not ridiculed and chastised. The practice of rock staining, or rock color restoration, has been going on since at least 1930, when the National Park Service developed a stain to subdue the horrible scarring of freshly blasted granite spilled over the canyon walls from Wawona Tunnel construction. The scenic majesty of the canyon walls was restored. It has been used on many private land developments throughout the West, as well as award-winning Glenwood Canyon Highway and Vail Pass in Colorado.


The American Society of Landscape Architects, Scenic America and others are deeply concerned that Congress has, as a result of Rep. Metcalf's assault, initiated legislation to ban an economical, effective and inexpensive tool to reduce visual impacts in scenically sensitive areas of national forests.


Congress should not be micromanaging federal agencies by prohibiting the proven technological tools that federal agencies utilize in carrying out their mandated stewardship of public lands.





Wayne D. Iverson


Sedona, Arizona








The writer is a former regional landscape architect for the Forest Service.


High Country News Classifieds
  • NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
    All positions available: Sales Representative, Accountant and Administrative Assistant. As part of our expansion program, our University is looking for part time work from home...
  • COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Position Title: Communications Associate Director Location: Flexible within the Western U.S., Durango, CO preferred Position reports to: Senior Communications Director The Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF)...
  • HISTORIC HOTEL & CAFE
    For Sale, 600k, Centennial Wyoming, 6 suites plus 2 bed, 2 bath apartment. www.themountainviewhotel.com Make this your home or buy a turn key hotel [email protected]
  • MAJOR GIFTS OFFICER
    High Country News, an award-winning news organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Major Gifts Officer to join our...
  • RUBY, ARIZONA CARETAKER
    S. Az ghost town seeking full-time caretaker. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • VICE PRESIDENT, LANDSCAPE CONSERVATION
    Basic Summary: The Vice President for Landscape Conservation is based in the Washington, D.C., headquarters and oversees Defenders' work to promote landscape-scale wildlife conservation, focusing...
  • BRISTOL BAY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Seeking a program director responsible for developing and implementing all aspects of the Alaska Chapter's priority strategy for conservation in the Bristol Bay region of...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The National Bighorn Sheep Center is looking for an Executive Director to take us forward into the new decade with continued strong leadership and vision:...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Powder Basin Watershed Council, based in Baker City, Oregon, seeks a new Executive Director with a passion for rural communities, water, and working lands....
  • CLEAN ENERGY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Type: Permanent, fulltime Reports to: Executive Director Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state and out-of-state required Compensation (beginning): $44,000 to 46,500/yr., DOE plus excellent benefits...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Powder River Basin Resource Council, a progressive non-profit conservation organization based in Sheridan, Wyoming, seeks an Executive Director, preferably with grassroots organizing experience, excellent communication...
  • ADOBE HOME
    Passive solar adobe home in high desert of central New Mexico. Located on a 10,000 acre cattle ranch.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition, based in Ely, Nevada is looking for a new executive director to replace the long-time executive director who is retiring at...
  • STEVE HARRIS, EXPERIENCED PUBLIC LANDS/ENVIRONMENTAL ATTORNEY
    Comment Letters - Admin Appeals - Federal & State Litigation - FOIA -
  • LISA MACKEY PHOTOGRAPHY
    Fine Art Gicle Printing. Photo papers, fine art papers, canvas. Widths up to 44". Art printing by an artist.
  • LOG HOME IN THE GILA WILDERNESS
    Beautiful hand built log home in the heart of the Gila Wilderness on five acres. Please email for PDF of pictures and a full description.
  • CARETAKER
    2.0 acre homestead needing year-round caretaker in NE Oregon. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • SEEKING PROPERTY FOR BISON HERD
    Seeking additional properties for a herd of 1,000 AUM minimum. Interested in partnering with landowners looking to engage in commercial and/or conservation bison ranching. Location...
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.