The High Country News Board of Directors gathered in Santa Fe, N.M., in late September to toss around story ideas with readers, discuss HCN's growing digital audience, and strategize about the future. The context for the discussions was a proposed $2.2 million budget that aims to improve the quality of the magazine and website, while growing the paid subscription base. The board approved the budget with the knowledge that its revenue projections are aggressive: To pay for the smart and productive staff and freelancers who churn out the stories, provide customer service and maintain the systems that are so critical to any publishing venture, we will need steady revenue from subscriptions ($720,000) and record-high revenue from donations to the Research Fund ($525,000) and grants and other contributions ($535,000), all following an election season that has heavily tapped folks' wallets already.
Maybe we're crazy, but we think that our readers will continue to support a unique media enterprise that not only provides in-depth news and analysis you won't find anywhere else on the Web or in print, but that also has a mission of getting citizens involved with the issues and changing the face of the West and the world. We are humbled to be part of such a remarkable community.
FISHERS AND FIREFIGHTERS COME TO CALL
Cathy and Jack Porter of Moscow, Idaho, stopped by our Paonia, Colo., headquarters as part of a six-week road trip around the West. They'd been up nearby Kebler and McClure Passes to do some late aspen-peeking with Paonia friends Pat and Glenn Dahlgren.
After years of being called out to help stamp out Western Slope fires, Rob Powell, a firefighter in Rapid City, S.D., finally brought his wife, Kaelynn, out to see the area. This summer's fires kept Rob busy, but things are finally slowing down. The Powells, who have read HCN for years, just wish we did more coverage of the Black Hills.
Apparently, the universe wanted Gail Robinson of Traverse City, Mich., and Reggie Tucker of Windsor, Ontario, to stumble upon High Country News. The pair, who aren't subscribers and didn't know HCN was based in Paonia, were on the hunt for a road-trip lunch when they came across the office. Reggie, who remembered reading HCN while living in Arizona and Utah, exclaimed, "Is that THE High Country News?" They attribute their good luck to a Viking rune reading that morning, which advised Reggie to be open to unexpected turns. After their stop in Paonia, they'll board an Amtrak train to Kalamazoo. They took plenty of back issues to keep them occupied on the 29-hour journey, although Gail said that on the train ride out, she hardly read: "We did nothing but watch people and the scenery."
Fisherwoman Jeff Karraker told us she used a blue-wing olive fly on the East and Slate rivers and Brush Creek, which feed into the Taylor River in northeast Gunnison County, Colo. Her fishing trip had to conclude with a visit to HCN's headquarters, she said, because she swore she'd stop by next time she was driving back to her Durango home from Crested Butte. Jeff is a retired National Park Service ranger who's spent her life exploring parks in Florida, Maryland, New Mexico, Alaska and many other states.
In our Oct. 29 story, "The pragmatists' rebellion," we mistakenly referred to Republican state Senate candidate Steve Kirk as a Nevada assemblyman. In fact, he is a former Henderson city councilman. We regret the error.