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for people who care about the West

Holiday publishing break

Welcome new employees, and farewell Martin Litton


With our 22-issue-per-year publishing schedule, we’re skipping the next issue. Look for High Country News again around Jan. 19. In the meantime, check hcn.org for fresh articles, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook. And happy holidays!

We’d like to welcome our new accountant, Rebecca Avera, who comes to Paonia from Colorado Springs, enthusiastic about the Western Slope’s slower pace and abundant outdoor activities. She rock climbs, ice climbs and is an avid hiker — she’s climbed Africa’s Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua in South America. Rebecca was born in Columbus, Mississippi, and received a degree in accounting from Southern Mississippi University. She’s worked for newspapers, nonprofits and oil companies, but is excited about working at HCN, she says, “for the passion the magazine shows for the issues it covers.”

New advertising sales assistant Margaret Gilfoyle also has a varied résumé: She’s studied creative writing and poetry at the University of Iowa, worked as a chef, was active in the anti-nuclear movement, and now practices holistic medicine. An Iowa native, she first came West with her twin sister during college, “looking for an adventure,” she recalls. Margaret has lived in Colorado ever since and moved to Paonia in 2007. Outside the office, you can find her in the kitchen cooking up locally inspired feasts. The fruit is her favorite, she says. “Or maybe the wine.”

Alexis Halbert, who joins us as associate publisher, was born in Nassau, Bahamas, and moved to the Chicago area when she was 7. She attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she studied the interface between natural resource management and globalization. After college, she interned as a land manager at an environmental education center in Oregon and then worked as a project manager in both the nonprofit and private business sectors in the Bay Area. She’s lived in Paonia since 2010, where she’s continued her almost two-decade commitment to community and economic development work. What draws her to HCN? Providing stories that show readers that “we’re all in this together,” she says. 

Martin Litton, 97, one of the West’s fiercest conservationists, died in his sleep Nov. 30 at his home in Palo Alto, California. Just a decade earlier, he set the record for being the oldest man to raft the Colorado River. Litton fought for the river for decades, working tenaciously with Sierra Club executive director David Brower and writer Ed Abbey to help halt two dams that would have flooded a stretch of the Grand Canyon. Litton’s background was legendary: He piloted unarmed gliders during World War II, crash-landing behind enemy lines. After the war, he worked as a journalist and founded Grand Canyon Dories, becoming the 185th recorded person to run the canyon. According to his friends, Litton could be stubborn, reckless, brash and relentless — all excellent qualities for a true environmental warrior. Kenneth Brower recalls that his father cherished Litton as his “conscience. … He would not compromise his principles, or roll over when somebody else did.”