Letters: Uncorked

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Outside magazine, April 1999

Letters: Uncorked

As a former commercial salmon fisherman now fighting to preserve the fish that once filled my nets, I appreciated your effort to reexamine the role of our nation’s dams (“Blow-Up,” February). As Bruce Barcott pointed out, dams may provide clean energy among their benefits, but this energy is anything but green. To northwesterners who
have fished for and marveled at Snake River salmon and steelhead since the last Ice Age, the four lower Snake dams loom like the cooling towers of Chernobyl.

Scott Bosse, Conservation Scientist, Idaho Rivers United
Boise, Idaho

I was glad to see the Tuolumne River included in Bruce Barcott’s list of hoped-for “emancipated streams.” Before the O’Shaughnessy Dam filled in Yosemite National Park’s Hetch Hetchy Valley, John Muir described it as “one of nature’s rarest and most precious mountain temples.” But it was an equally attractive reservoir site for San Francisco. Why? By 1851, San
Francisco had burned down six times, partly because of an inadequate city water supply. After the 1906 earthquake, civic leaders pressed three administrations (Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson) to dam the Tuolumne. They won in 1913. Now that alternative technology exists to solve San Francisco’s water problems, Hetch Hetchy Valley is too high a price to continue paying.

Ron Good, Chairman, Sierra Club Hetch Hetchy Restoration Task Force
Yosemite, California

I’m a small rural landowner whose horse pastures are being threatened by salmon recovery efforts in Washington, so I read Barcott’s recent article with interest. I cannot, however, share his enthusiasm. My food is cheaper because grain is river barged — not trucked on already potholed, overcrowded roads. Those who say dams have killed our fish are not telling the
whole truth. Wild, undammed Olympic Peninsula rivers like the Dungeness are as devoid of fish as our urbanized, dammed rivers.

Maxine Keesling
Woodinville, Washington

Miles to Go

After following Dave Scott et al.’s outline for four rigorous months up to February (“1999 Fitness Special: Finishing Strong”), I’m relieved to see concepts like “give it a rest” and “maintenance” in my future — the end’s in sight! Seriously, though, I’ll continue to follow your plan. (Except for the 20 pull-ups. And the 500 sit-ups. What was Chris Huffins
thinking?) I’ve never felt better.

Karl Cassels
Kalamazoo, Michigan

Words Worth

In your March Ear to the Ground item on a hoax Internet story about a zookeeper killed by 200 pounds of elephant dung, I was incorrectly referred to as “head of the Oregon Zoo.” I’m just the public relations guy. A zoo director would not use the word “crap,” as I did. He would prefer the term “endangered species feces” instead.

Steve Cohen, Oregon Zoo
Portland, Oregon

Mon Cher Amour

The photo of an intestinal parasite in a recent article on travel medicine is mislabeled, I’m afraid (“Do You Know What You Don’t Know?” January). The Schistosoma pictured is not “in a moment of reproductive abstinence,” as the caption states. In fact, the broad, rugged male is holding the slender female in copulo. You can just see her delicate anterior end peeking
out of her mate’s embrace. They are anything but abstinent.

Leonard C. Marcus, V.M.D., M.D.
Newton, Massachusetts

Correction: In December’s “The List,” the phone number provided for Geographic Expeditions’s “The Hunters and the Hunted” Zimbabwe safari was incorrect. The correct number is 800-777-8183.

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