Showdown in the West
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Outside magazine, November 1995
Showdown in the West
Nowhere is our national distrust of Washington more extreme than in the West, where ranchers, loggers, and miners lately have been playing brinkmanship with the federal government, whose environmental laws often cramp their extractive style. As this conflict becomes increasingly dangerous–four times in the past two years, someone has planted bombs intended to target or
We think, of course, that all citizens do, and that the government’s responsibility is to maintain the delicate balance between industry and conservation that Teddy Roosevelt had in mind in 1906, when he set the first fees for grazing in the national forests. The move enraged cattlemen, but Roosevelt stood by the meaning of “wise use” as promulgated by his chief forester,
Though the current brand of insurrection deserves a fair hearing–many of its partisans sincerely believe that federal regulations are destroying a covenant the government established when it wanted to settle a harsh, hardscrabble land–we’ve long questioned both the means and the ends of the so-called Wise Use movement. With an election year approaching that could well
To that end, we dispatched a team of reporters to assess the meaning of the new range wars. Their report, “The Wayward West,” begins with Mark Dowie’s immersion in the culture of politics-through-intimidation as practiced in Catron County, New Mexico, where angry, sometimes pistol-packing citizens have used
Last January, when two 26-year-old Americans began rafting down Peru’s remote Marañón River, conflict was the last thing on their minds. Three days into the journey, however, the two world-beat Huck Finns were ambushed; one, Patchen Miller, was shot from point-blank range–likely by an Aguaruna Indian–and sent overboard. In his poignant article “A Darkness on the River,” editor-at-large Tim Cahill travels to the river with his longtime friend Paul Dix, Miller’s father. What they find with the Aguaruna is a common language of compassion vivid enough to bridge the gap between two vastly different cultures.
Closer to home, contributing editor Donald Katz catches up with the progenitor of an entirely different sort of community: the high priest of pecs, Jack LaLanne. Katz finds that the trash-talking 81-year-old godfather of fitness continues to approach his dawn-to-dusk workouts–and everything else in his life–with the boundless energy of a man in his prime. Katz’s profile is
Elsewhere in the issue: Scott Anderson replies to Peter Matthiessen, who last month in our pages challenged Anderson’s July feature, “The Martyrdom of Leonard