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  Sierra Magazine
  November/December 2008
Table of Contents
Ice Manliness Cometh
A Six-Dog-Power Engine
I (Heart) Snowshoeing
Skiing Yellowstone
Welcome Back to the World
Rotten Fish Tales
Big Fun in the Green Zone
Hey Mr. Green
Comfort Zone
Mixed Media
Last Words
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Sierra Magazine

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Lay of the Land

Playing Chicken | 2020 Vision | Low Bench Marks | WWatch | The Hidden Cost of Gas | Sprawl | Bold Strokes | Updates


Airport Grounded. After a seven-year battle, both the Miami-Dade County Commission and the U.S. Air Force rejected a proposed commercial airport at the former Homestead Air Force Base, at the edge of Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. The Sierra Club and other groups had opposed the airport, which would have hosted 236,000 jet flights a year, plaguing local residents and ecosystems with air, water, and noise pollution. (See "Home Front," July/August 1999 and July/August 2000.)

íVivan las Monarcas! Each fall, more than 100 million monarch butterflies make an amazing 3,000-mile migration from eastern Canada to the Sierra Chincua in central Mexico. Logging of the oyamel firs they flock to has been encroaching on the area's five monarch sanctuaries. In November, Mexican president Vicente Fox announced the creation of a $6.1 million monarch trust fund that will pay local residents to stop cutting trees, thereby protecting the butterflies' haven and the peoples' livelihood. (See "Dangers in Paradise," July/August 1992.)

Monumental Struggle. First, the good news: In November, a Washington, D.C., judge dismissed a legal attack on our newest national monuments filed by Interior Secretary Gale Norton's former employer, the Mountain States Legal Foundation. The conservative group had challenged President Clinton's creation of six monuments under the Antiquities Act. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Land Management (part of the Department of the Interior) had been quietly preparing the bad news: revised guidelines for its monument managers. Environmentalists say that these rules, released last October, will weaken protection of the public lands, opening them up to more power lines, increased off-road-vehicle use, and hunting of mountain lions, coyotes, and other predators. (See "Six Million Sweet Acres," September/October 2001.)

No Bombs in Big Sur. Environmentalists, the Salinan National Indian tribe, and Benedictine monks took on the U.S. Navy -- and won. In November, the Navy dropped its plans to greatly increase use of Fort Hunter Liggett, a training site near California's rugged Big Sur coast and Ventana Wilderness. Instead of cringing at the roar of fighter jets dropping thousands of practice bombs each year, residents and visitors will continue to enjoy bald eagles and California condors soaring over the breathtaking coastline. (See "Home Front," July/August 2001.)

by Jennifer Hattam

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