The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 256
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
for his nineteen cows from the Forest Service but actually subsists on
part-time Forest Service wages. Basilio, a Basque shepherd, works for
the Faulkner Land and Livestock Company, which runs 25,000 sheep
and 1,6oo head of cattle in Idaho's Pioneer Mountains. Ed Cantrell is
the Wyoming stock detective and hired gun. The message, if there is
one, is that the West is full of interesting people who resent their sym-
biotic relationship with the federal government.
"The Harvest" sees the West as the land of opportunity, usually
missed. Gold still lures miners to stake claims in Arizona. The heavy
earthmoving equipment of giant coal mines strips away the topsoil in
Montana. Logging dominates the Oregon economy. Marijuana grow-
ers bring the shadow of illegal pursuits to northern California forests.
Extractive industry rings of danger and sweat rather than romance.
"The Range" and "The Harvest" are time-worn themes. "The Keep-
ers" focuses on contemporary concerns about the protection of the na-
tion's natural and cultural heritage. Archaeologists and naturalists in
the BLM and Forest Service face opposition from the outside-pot-
hunters and all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts are examples-and inside.
The internal politics of the BLM and Forest Service reflect agencies in
the midst of changing from a pro-development past to a preservation-
oriented future. Many BLM veterans cast a jaundiced eye toward the
Archaeological Resources Protection Act, while Forest Service tradi-
tionalists view the current fire fighting theory of "containment" with
suspicion. Events of the summer of 1988, especially the disastrous Yel-
lowstone fire, will intensify the debate over the role of fire in the natu-
The last section, entitled "Visions," features those groups who are
committed to preserving the public lands in a natural state for pos-
terity. In addition to mainstream environmental groups, the reader en-
counters Earth First!, a group charged with committing ecotage, which
includes such tactics as spiking trees to ruin chain saws. Their muse is
Edward Abbey, author of The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975), which cli-
maxes with an attempt to destroy the Glen Canyon Dam so as to restore
the natural flow of the Colorado River. Radical ecotage groups have
taken Abbey's flights of imagination and tried to turn them into reality.
Conaway offers no solutions. He simply describes the people and
issues as he finds them. His sympathies lie with those who would pre-
serve, but he understands that the traditional users are only trying to
wrest a living from the land.
Texas does not figure in Conaway's book. With its heritage as an in-
dependent republic, Texas retained her public lands and consequently
escaped the huge federal presence found to the north and west. The
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/m1/296/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.