EDITORrnThomas FlemingrnMANAGING EDITORrnTheodore PappasrnSENIOR EDITOR, BOOKSrnChilton Williamson, Jr.rnEDITORIAL ASSISTANTrnMichael WashburnrnART DIRECTORrnAnna Mycek-WodeckirnCONTRIBUTING EDITORSrnHarold O.j. Brown, Katherine Dalton,rnSamuel Francis, George Garrett,rnChristine Haynes, E. Christian Kopff,rnClyde WilsonrnCORRESPONDING EDITORSrnBill Kauffman, Jacob Neusner,rn]ohn Shelton Reed, Momcilo SelicrnEDITORIAL SECRETARYrnLeann DobbsrnPUBLISHERrnAllan C. CarlsonrnPUBLICATION DIRECTORrnGuy C. ReffettrnPRODUCTION SECRETARYrnAnita CandyrnCIRCULATION MANAGERrnRochelle FrankrnA publication of The Rockford Institute.rnEditorial and Advertising Offices;rn934 North Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103,rnEditorial Phone: (815)964-5054.rnAdvertising Phone: (815)964-5811.rnSubscription Department: P.O. Box 800,rnMount Morris, IL 61054. Call 1-800-877-5459.rnFor information on advertising in Chronicles.rnplease call Rochelle Frank at (815) 964-5811.rnU.S.A. Newsstand Distribution by Eastem NewsrnDistributors, Inc., 1130 Cleveland Road,rnSandusky, OH 44870.rnCopyright © 1995 by The Rockford Institute.rnAll rights reserved.rnC/iromefe (ISSN 0887-5731) is publishedrnmonthly for $39.00 per year by The RockfordrnInstitute, 934 North Main Street, Rockford,rnIL 61103-7061. Second-class postage paidrnat Rockford, IL and additional mailing offices.rnPOSTMASTER: Send address changes tornChronicles. P.O. Box 800. Mount Mon-is,rnIL 61054.rnThe views expressed in Chronicles are thernauthors’ alone and do not necessarily reflectrnthe views of The Rockford Institute or of itsrndirectors. I’nsolicited manuscripts cannot bernreturned unless accompanied by a self-addressedrnstamped envelope.rnChroniclesrnVol. 19, No. 12 December 1995rnPrinted in the United States of AmencarnPOLEMICS & EXCHANGESrnOn Catron CountyrnThe first half of Chilton Williamson’srnSeptember essay, “Circuit Rider,” is a joyrnto read. The second half is also wellrnwritten, but has no reality to it. The idearnthat Catron County, New Mexico, isrnfighting for some grounded life againstrnfederal interference founders if the factsrnare known.rnThe facts are that Catron Countyrnlong ago abused and used up its trees andrngrass. There is nothing left to log, andrnthe cows are down to eating the dirt andrnhanging out in stream bottoms, waitingrnfor a blade of grass to push above ground.rnPresent residents of Catron County arernsimply fighting the feds and environmentalistsrnfor the right to burn what’srnleft of the furniture. As for it being arnremnant of the Old West, that’s a joke:rnstatistics show that the county has had arnhuge in-migration, and most leaders ofrnthe county movement are newcomers tornthe county.rnThe truth of the inland West, and notrnjust of Catron County, is that the place isrnan ecological mess—a 1930’s dust bowlrnwithout the blowing dust. Becausernranchers, loggers, and dam builders havernabused the place for so many decades, itrncan no longer economically sustain lifernon the land without federal subsidies. Itrnis why the West’s senators are more socialistrnthan the Soviets ever were. It is alsornwhy ranches have sold off to newcomersrnthe way the fender and fuel pump arernsold off a car that will no longer run. ThernWest is being parted out just like thatrnjunked car. All those Californians drivingrnthrough Colorado and New Mexicornand Utah whom Williamson mocked arernsimply on the lookout for an empty piecernof exhausted land on which to buildrntheir dream house. They’ll find plenty.rnWesterners have been hard at work forrndecades.rn—Ed MarstonrnPublisher, High Country NewsrnMr. Williamson Replies:rnCatron County is a red flag, isn’t it? Myrnfriend Ed Marston is not usually so choleric.rnMarston claims that there is nothingrnleft to log in Catron County. But a forestrnfire there last summer in an area where arntimber sale had been denied on accountrnof the 28 owl “core” zones it includedrndestroyed 9-11 million board feet. Thernadjacent area, which did not burn, remainsrna fine stand of timber. (Of course,rnif the owls have relocated there, it can’trnbe logged either.) As for grass, I have observedrnnumerous blades of it in my severalrnvisits to Catron County. According torna recent report, late summer rains followingrnyears of drought have improved thernrange significantly.rnMarston’s statistics showing huge emigrationrnto Catron County are puzzling,rnas the county has lost considerable populationrnin the last few years. He may havernin mind, however, the arrival of militiarntypes who believed the propagandarnspread by environmentalists regardingrnthe county-rights movement, and, concludingrnthat Catron County is a congenialrnhome for outlaws and anarchists,rnmoved there. In fact, they play no role inrnthe lawful confrontation between Reserve,rnNM, and Washington, D.C. If thernthree commissioners are outsiders, theyrnare probably Somalis as well. Hugh B.rnMcKean’s family has lived in CatronrnCounty for more than a hundred yearsrnand John Hand for 40 years, while CadosrnLivingston is a fourth or fifth generationrnresident. Danny Fryar, the county manager,rnalso goes back several generations,rnand Jim Catron, the commissioners’ legalrncounsel, is—as I mentioned in myrnpiece—a descendant of New Mexico’srnpioneers. So much for the joke aboutrnthe county movement’s leaders beingrnnewcomers to Catron County.rnMarston’s description of the intermountainrnWest as a dust bowl destroyedrnby Westerners is a howling exaggeration,rnand a sweeping generalization as well.rnBut even if it weren’t, why single outrnWesterners for criticism of their flawedrnstewardship? Have Northeasterners,rnSoutherners, or Midwesterners done anyrnbetter at preserving their own portions ofrnthe country? And what about “all thosernCalifornians,” fleeing the once-lovelyrnstate they have managed to ruin in a couplernof generations? Like locusts, they arernmoving on to find someplace else to consume.rnIf the West is such a mess, why dornenvironmentalists want to live here? Thernanswer is, the West is still the West, andrnthe environmentalist movement representsrnan even greater takeover attemptrnthan the already slackening migrationrnfrom California.rn4/CHRONICLESrnrnrn