National Geographic : 2004 Sep
Forum . May 2004 "Dance ofDeath"-aphoto essay on the killing of a moose by a pack of wolves-sparked a heated debate (see the following page as well as our online forum at nationalgeographic.com/ magazine/0405/feature6). Should park rangers have stepped in to save the moose? Nearly two-thirds of the people who responded to our online poll on the subject believe that humans shouldn't interfere with nature in such cases. The Late Great Plains "Change of Heartland" is a story that needed to be told. The author, John Mitchell, truly cap tured what life is like on the ever vanishing farms of the Plains. Generations of strong, resilient families shaped this country into a great nation. The government needs to help these people with whatever aid is necessary to keep alive their way of life. MICHAEL M. DONOVAN Centennial,Colorado I grew up in the Great Plains. I was appalled by your article. The gloom-and-doom aura perme ating the story is definitely not the theme of our life here, nor is it the outlook for the area. We appreciate the coverage, but the picture presented of this beauti ful land is distorted. MARVIN S. SPRACKLEN Chadron, Nebraska FOR MORE INFORMATION Toget NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC please call 1-800 -NGS-LINE (1-800 -647-5463). Hearing-impaired TDD users may call 1-800-548-9797. The magazine's website: nationalgeo graphic.com/magazine For an online index of all National Geographic publications, go to: nationalgeographic.com/publications Thank you for calling attention to an issue that has quietly become a crisis-the rapid depopulation of America's Great Plains. Nearly half of the coun ties in Oklahoma, which I rep resent in the U.S. Congress, are losing their population at an un sustainable rate. Today most of the towns in western Oklahoma have fewer people than they had a hundred years ago, and as this trend worsens, it strains public services like schools, hospitals, and police and fire departments to the breaking point. You are right to point out that it will take more than an act of Congress to remedy this situation. But your article neglects another equally important fact: This depopula tion is not merely a natural, inevitable trend, but the result of decades of political negligence. Government policy, quite simply, has failed these people. REP. BRAD CARSON U.S. Congress Washington, D.C . Your article was typical of the thinking of those who don't live on the Great Plains. You extol the idea of changing the prairie back to what it was before the evil Europeans arrived with their plows and cattle. One wonders if NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC . SEPTEMBER 2004 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY "For the increaseand diffusion of geographic knowledge." The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C ., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Since 1888 the Society has supported more than 7,500 explorations and research projects, adding to knowledge of earth, sea, and sky. JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., Presidentand CEO Executive Vice Presidents TERRENCE B. ADAMSON LINDA BERKELEY, President, Enterprises TERRY D. GARCIA, Mission Programs JOHN Q. GRIFFIN, President, Magazine Group NINA D. HOFFMAN, President, Books and School Publishing Group CHRISTOPHER A. LIEDEL, CFO BOARD OF TRUSTEES GILBERT M. GROSVENOR, Chairman REG MURPHY, Vice Chairman JOAN ABRAHAMSON, WILLIAM L. ALLEN, MICHAEL R. BONSIGNORE, MARTHA E. CHURCH, MICHAEL COLLINS, ROGER A. ENRICO, JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., DANIEL S. GOLDIN, JOHN JAY ISELIN, JAMES C. KAUTZ, J. WILLARD MARRIOTT, JR., FLORETTA DUKES McKENZIE, GEORGE MUNOZ, PATRICK F NOONAN, NATHANIEL P. REED, WILLIAM K. REILLY, ROZANNE L. RIDGWAY, JAMES R. SASSER, B. FRANCIS SAUL II, GERD SCHULTE-HILLEN TRUSTEES EMERITUS Joe L. Allbritton,Thomas E. Bolger, Frank Borman, LewisM. Branscomb,Robert L Breeden, Uoyd H. Elliott, George M. Elsey, Mrs. LyndonB. Johnson,LauranceS. Rockefeller, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Frederick G. Vosburgh COUNCIL OF ADVISORS Roger A. Enrico,Chairman; Michael R. Bonsignore,Howard G. Buffett, Craig D. Campbell, JulietC. Folger, Robert B. Haas, Robert A HefnerIII, David H. Koch, Bruce L. Ludwig,Sally EngelhardPingree, W. Russell Ramsey, CatherineB. Reynolds, EdwardP. Roski,Jr., B. FrancisSaul II, Michele Sofisti, Garry A. Weber, Tracy R. Wolstencroft RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION COMMITTEE Peter H. Raven, Chairman; JohnM. Francis, Vice Chairman; William L. Allen, Martha E. Church,Steven M. Colman, Scott V. Edwards, William L. Graf, Nancy Knowlton,Dan M. Martin, Scott E. Miller, Jan Nijman,Stuart L. Pimm, Elsa M. Redmond, Bruce D. Smith, Hans-DieterSues, Patricia C. Wright, Melinda A. Zeder EXPLORERS-IN -RESIDENCE Robert Ballard, Wade Davis, Sylvia Earle, Zahi Hawass, Louise Leakey, Meave Leakey, Johan Reinhard, Paul Sereno Conservation Fllow: J. Michael ay CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS-IN RESIDENCE Sam Abell, Annie GriffithsBelt, David Doubilet, Karen Kasmauski, Emory Kristof, Frans Lanting MISSION PROGRAMS Vice Presidents: BarbaraA. Chow,EducationFoundation; John M. Francis, Research,Conservation, and Exploration; JacquelineM. Hollister, Development;Sarah Laskin, Public Programs. Exhibits: Susan S. Norton. Expeditions Council: Rebecca Martin. eography Bee: Mary Lee Elden. Lectures: P. Andrewvan Duym, GregoryA. McGruder School Publishng: Ericka Markman, Sr. Vice President. International: Robert W. Hernndez, Sr. Vice President. Human Resources: Thomas A. Sabl6, Sr. Vice President. Communications: Betty Hudson, Sr. Vice President. Treasurer: H. GregoryPlatts, Sr. Vice President NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VENTURES DENNIS R. PATRICK, Presidentand CEO Television: TimothyT. Kelly,President. National Geographic Channel: David Haslingden,President, International;Laureen Ong, President, U.S. natlonaplgogr .c om: ChrisMcAndrews,Senior Vice President and General Manager Contributionsto the NationalGeographicSocietyare tax deductibleunder Section501(c)(3) ofthe U.S .tax code. Copyright 2004 NationalGeographicSociety. All rightsreserved. NationalGeographicand Yellow Border:RegisteredTrademarks® MarcasRegistradas. NationalGeographicassumesno responsibilityfor unsolicitedmaterials.Printedin U.S .A.