The West: Land of income extremes
Plus: Happy Birthday to the Land Desk; Foto Friday; tidbits
I’ve got some crazy figures for you regarding income from the Bureau of Economic Analysis down “below the fold” (which is the old school way of saying you gotta scroll down past the paywall to see it). But first, a little personal news: The Land Desk turns two this week. That’s right, I started this thing on Jan. 10, 2021, because I felt like it was needed and because I had a hankering to do it. Since then, we’ve published over 250 dispatches.
At the risk of tooting our own horn, where else can you find, in just one newsletter: an account of sinking Lake Powell yachts; Alfalfaphobia and maybe a bit of Alfalfaphilia; harrowing tales of near-dam failures and near-avalanche disasters and Bears Ears backpacking trips gone awry; the used-to-be game and rants and a review of one of the worst movies of all time; the Mining Monitor Map and the Green Chile Atlas; explainers on carbon capture, the power grid, and methane; and so much more.
In the coming year look for more of the same great content and context in addition to some exciting new features. As in the past, about 75% of new content will be free, while archives older than 6 months are for paid subscribers only. I will be putting some new content behind the paywall and will have secret, exclusive posts for sustaining members — folks who fork out $100 or more per year1 — starting in February (hint: it may have to do with a serialized novel). So be sure to sign up for a new paid subscription or renew now (Substack’s default setting is to renew automatically, so if you don’t want your card to be charged, please log in and change your settings. Gift subscription recipients will not be renewed automatically, so you might want to get in there and sign up now before we increase our rates to be more inline with other newsletters). If you can’t afford a subscription, drop me a line and I’ll comp you one.
The Land Desk has been far more successful than I could have imagined two years ago. So thank you for subscribing, reading and, most of all, taking part in this community by commenting and even setting me straight from time to time. I hope you’ll stick around for another year!
Aridification Saturation Watch
We just did the snowpack data a couple weeks ago, so I’m not going to do it again. But holy relentless train of atmospheric rivers is there ever a lot of moisture falling from the sky. Look at these rainfall totals! Still, it’s interesting that of those nine precipitation totals, only three set new 16-day records. Yes, this is some wacky weather, but it’s not unprecedented, yet.
Judging from snowpack levels across the West, it would appear that each successive range of mountains wrings a little less moisture out of the clouds than the previous one. So California is getting buried, Utah is having one powder day after another, and Colorado is looking pretty darned good.
Pretty good in northern Colorado, too, but surprisingly not way ahead of last year at this time. This is for Rabbit Ears Pass:
And all of this new snow on top of that stuff that fell back in October and November and then rotted = avalanche danger. So be careful out there.
Data Dump: Per Capita Personal Income
Back in November, the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis released county level personal income figures and, wow, are they ever eye-opening. It confirmed what a lot of people already may have guessed: The West is a magnet for folks in the upper income brackets (before you look at the chart below, try guessing which county has the highest per capita personal income). But it’s also home to the lowest per capita incomes in the nation.
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