Dear Friends


A celebration of essayists

We are not calling this issue devoted mostly to essays "special," but it certainly feels that way. It is the first time we have taken such a large break from straight reporting to feature stories that stem from personal experience in the West. Staff debated the idea and finally plunged. An election-news onslaught is sure to follow, we reasoned, but meanwhile, from writers all around the region, we offer a splash of recollection, quirkiness, joy, mourning and intense summer heat.


Summer always brings us readers on vacation, which gives us a chance to pass on review books we've either noted in the paper or will never get to. It was fun recently to chat with river guide Katie Lee, who was on her way to Gateway, Colo., with friend Joey van Leeuwen, and then page through a book we recently reviewed, The Colorado River through Glen Canyon Before Lake Powell (HCN, 7/22/96). There on page 67 was a spectacular 1957 photo of Katie Lee in now-drowned Grotto Canyon. Katie told us her book in progress, All My Rivers are Gone, is getting closer to completion and a new poem written in 1880s' style, The Ballad of Gutless Ditch, was about to be recorded. We'd seen the writer and singer just a few nights earlier at a benefit for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Some 12 HCN staffers made the trip over McClure Pass to hear Terry Tempest Williams wow several hundred people with a reading of both her old and new work.

Back in Paonia, we chatted with Lauren Fisher, a graduate student in sustainable agriculture at Tufts University in Massachusetts, who picked up our five-part series on land-grant universities. And we found a note left for us on a Sunday by ranchers Dennis and Deb Moroney of Prescott, Ariz.

From Sacramento, Calif., came Jeanine Junell, who will study ecology for a master's degree at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Jeanine, who'd studied snakes for two years, was the happy recipient of a review book on garter snakes.


We were saddened to hear of the death of Seth Diamond, 34, of Missoula, Mont. Seth, who was with the Intermountain Forest Industry Association, was killed in an airplane crash on July 26 near Libby, Mont. He was profiled in HCN's May 13, 1996, issue on consensus for his efforts to assuage fears of the timber industry about restoring grizzly bears to central Idaho.

Contributions may be sent to the Seth J. Diamond Memorial Fund, c/o IFIA, 3731 N. Ramsey Road, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814.

Florence Krall of Salt Lake City, Utah, called to say that her husband, Paul Shepard, died at home on July 16 as a thunderstorm swept through. He was a professor of human ecology at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., and his books have inspired a generation of environmental thinkers. A recent book, The Others: How Animals Made Us Human, was published by Island Press, and A Paul Shepard Reader: The Only World We've Got is available from Sierra Club Books.


The editors of High Country News regret any distress felt by the brother-in-law of Santa Fe, N.M., Mayor Debbie Jaramillo on reading an inaccurate description of him in an Election Watch report July 22. Carlos Jaramillo has never been convicted of a felony. We apologize for the error.

- Betsy Marston for the staff

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