Dear Friends

 

Woe is Montana

Poor Montana. And we aren't even counting the Freemen extortionists who won't come out of their rooms. No, the latest slam against the "last best place" comes from a grumpy editor of the (need we say powerful?) New York Times Magazine. James Atlas' family vacation near Yellowstone and Glacier national parks was such a dud, he tells us in his newspaper's The Sophisticated Traveler Magazine May 12, that he couldn't wait to return to grubby New York:

"The next morning we got up at 6 o'clock and drove to the Bozeman airport. There was a brief delay: the plane was overbooked. People were being offered $700 to give up their seats and take a later flight. Uh-uh. As we lumbered down the runway, I sank back in my seat with relief and cracked open my copy of Middlemarch. Phew!"

Why was Montana such a flop? Atlas tells us he was a victim of "salvational" brochures that promised an exotic getaway. What he found was a time-warp "50s mentality at Glacier National Park, where college students wearing name and state tags serve "Bucky Beaver Hamburgers," and an all-too familiar Dairy Queen along a highway. Then the vacation went from tacky to scary when a park ranger talked happily about "the recent growth in the predator population," and ominous trail signs warned hikers about grizzly habitat ahead. Atlas felt safe from grizzlies only on crowded trails and on a raft trip. But the river was cold and miserable, and when a young boy was flipped out of the raft, Atlas began to yearn for grizzlies. The final misadventure was a terrifying horseback ride with a wrangler who kept asking: "Yuh havin' fun?" If we had to guess, we'd say this is one family that's not making for the West anytime soon. Phew!

Notes from all over

What electronic mail can never replace is the sight of someone's handwriting. We get to see a lot of this personal expression this time of year as we pore over reader surveys, gleaning them for tips, rejoinders and a few slams. Our reigning favorite came neatly printed: "My name is Kelsie, and I live in Moab. I'm 8 years old. I'm sending two dollars of my allowance to help your research fund, because I think my home is beautiful. Thanks, Kelsie Defrancia." And thanks to you, Kelsie.

Congratulations to former HCN intern Anders Halverson, who just won a fistful of awards from the Idaho Press Club for his environmental, political, agricultural, "serious feature" and investigative reporting for the Idaho Mountain Express. What we had trouble grasping was why Anders only placed second for Rookie of the Year.

We need to correct the name of the institution that has created the Timothy E. Wirth Chair in Environmental and Community Development Policy. It is the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado at Denver, not the University of Denver.

Hot spring weather has brought a trickle of visitors, including Mark Peterson, the new Rocky Mountain regional director for the National Parks and Conservation Association. He replaces Terri Martin in Salt Lake City, who's taking a break after 14 years. Mark, along with environmental consultant Randy Rasmussen of Fort Collins, Colo., was talking to people in Western Colorado about Colorado Republican Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell's plans to turn the Black Canyon National Monument into a full-fledged park. Because the proposal lacks sufficient environmental protection, Mark says, the expansion is really "park barrel."

We also visited with Jeffrey Berman, executive director of the Sheep Mountain Alliance, about the Telluride ski resort's plans to expand.

* Betsy Marston, for the staff

High Country News Classifieds
  • WATERSHED PROGRAMS COORDINATOR
    Are you looking for a positive and success oriented work environment, the opportunity to join a (small but) dynamic group of people supporting watershed activities...
  • BACKCOUNTRY FILM FESTIVAL MANAGER
    Boise-based Winter Wildlands Alliance is looking for an experienced and highly motivated individual to organize our annual Backcountry Film Festival and Tour and coordinate additional...
  • LAND CONSERVATION MANAGER
    SUMMARY Leads, administers and manages the land conservation, conservation easement stewardship, and property management activities of the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department within...
  • CLEAN ENERGY PROGRAM ATTORNEY, NEVADA
    Position Summary: Western Resource Advocates (WRA) is seeking a Staff Attorney who is passionate about Western communities and the protection of the natural environment to...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Deschutes River Conservancy in Bend, Oregon
  • WATER POLICY ANALYST WITH WRA (BOULDER)
    Position Summary: Western Resource Advocates seeks a passionate Water Policy Analyst with knowledge of western water issues to join our Healthy Rivers Team to strengthen...
  • GILA NATIONAL FOREST
    9+ acre inholding. Passive solar strawbale off the grid and next to the Continental Divide Trail in ponderosa pine/doug fir forest at 7400.
  • HIRING BEARS EARS EDUCATION CENTER DIRECTOR
    Conservation nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa in Bluff, Utah is hiring an Education Center Director to oversee the operation of the Bears Ears Education Center....
  • PROGRAM MANAGER, SUSTAINING FLOWS
    Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/
  • PROGRAM ASSOCIATE - VERDE RIVER EXCHANGE
    Verde River Exchange - Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/
  • CODE COMPLIANCE OFFICER
    Teton County Planning & Building is hiring! Our ideal candidate is a team-player, a problem-solver, pays attention to detail, and can clearly communicate technical material...
  • ARCHITECTURE DRAFTSPERSON/PROJECT MANAGER
    Studio Architects is seeking a full time Architectural drafts-person/project manager with1-3 years of experience to join our firm. At Studio Architects our mission is to...
  • ASSISTANT MANAGER/TRAINEE, COLORADO RANCH
    needed for 16,000+ acre conservation property in south central Colorado. Qualified candidate would have experience working on a ranch or wilderness property, general forestry/fire management...
  • FARM HAND &/OR NANNY IN ESCALANTE
    Nanny for 18-mnth-old. Yearly salary, vacation, health insurance. Spanish/other foreign-language native spkr prefrrd.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Washington Association of Land Trusts seeks an ED to build on WALTs significant success & to lead the association to new levels of achievement. See...
  • BEAUTIFUL CUSTOM STRAWBALE HOME IN WESTERN COLORADO!
    Secluded, energy efficient Southwestern home on 40 wooded acres. Broker - Rand Porter - United Country Real Colorado Properties. 970-261-1248, $425K
  • FORMER RETREAT CENTER/CONSERVATION PROPERTY FOR SALE
    57 acres in Skull Valley, AZ, 17 miles from Prescott, year-round creek, swimming holes, secluded canyon, hiking/meditation trails, oaks, pines, garden, greenhouse. House, office building,...
  • HISTORIC RANCH HOME W/ 20 ACRES
    Historic 1893 Ranch Headquarters. 4 Bdrm, 3.5 Ba, 4000 ft2. Remodeled 2002. Includes 2 studio apts, stables, arena, workshop, 5 RV hookups. Chirachua & Peloncillo...
  • VICE PRESIDENT OF RETAIL OPERATIONS
    The Vice President of Retail Operations will provide overall leadership and accountability for purchasing, product development, merchandising planning, visual merchandising, retail operational excellence, oversight and...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners seeks an experienced fundraiser with excellent communication and organizational skills.