Wrong cactus and not funny

  Dear HCN,

I was really depressed by the art work done by Greg Siple and cleared by your editors which accompanied the cover article on Santa Fe (HCN, 2/5/96). Even this dumb non-Westerner knows saguaros don't grow naturally in New Mexico. Maybe it was done for a laugh? OK, ha, ha.

I am awfully tired of seeing saguaros associated with all deserts and/or Western states. If it was in the New Yorker magazine, I would write it off to stupidity. The High Country News likes to tout itself as an authority on the West (minus California, of course). It also likes to give the impression that it is environmentally sensitive.

So stop and think about it: Why do you think saguaros are being pirated from their natural habitat and transported to Nevada casinos and God knows where else? Usually they die, because they are unable to adapt outside their normal range. It is precisely because of this type of completely inaccurate, irresponsible depiction of what their range is.

You could have drawn yuccas.

George Early

San Diego, California

The editor replies:

We regret misleading any reader biologically, but felt we had to be culturally correct. As observers of the "Santa Fe style," we knew coyotes on everything from billboards to cups must wear bandanas and be shown howling, and a saguaro cactus must stand in for anything green in the Southwest.

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