Author

Toner Mitchell

  • Community

    Looking for America

    A drive deep into the West can heal the soul and freshen commitment to causes

    The original plan was to drive east to meet my wife’s family in North Carolina. The time away from her mother, sisters and Gus’ cousins had been torture, but every state along our route was preparing to open up while the virus was still out of control. As we saw it, forcing customers and employees…

  • Voices from the river

    Teaching Dad

    One would think my fishing addiction would be at least partially hereditary, and this is true, insofar as my father’s family fell in love with New Mexico upon first laying eyes on the mountains around the Moreno Valley. My grandfather and his sons couldn’t get enough of fishing those creeks, the Cimarron, Rio Chiquito and Pot Creek, by worm, spinner or fly.  By sons,…

  • Community

    The Land Ethic

    We can turn to Aldo Leopold for important lessons that are ideal for the times.

    Aldo Leopold was a philosopher, an ecologist and, very importantly, a writer. As though possessed of his talent for translating the universal, we quote him ad nauseam. And though the southwest still bears scars from his killing of wolves, cougars and other varmints, his eventual embrace of the predator as a force for ecological balance exemplifies a flexible and evolving mind that left a significant mark whenever it…

  • Voices from the river

    Nick point

    Nick points abound in nature, but are also created by man

    For good or ill, nick points change rivers, sometimes forever To put my amateur science skills on full display, I’ve always associated the term with the sins humans have committed against rivers. We built our structures too close, grazed and beat down their banks. We diverted their flows, channelized and dammed them until they were forced to remind us, often…

  • Voices from the river

    Chama 2.0

    Big browns can live in the Chama thanks to restoration work

    A restored channel below Abiquiu Dam reinvents a New Mexico trout stream In the first "Rocky" movie, the title character dreams of being a prizefighter, yet understands that he will never rise above being a heart-of-gold jaw breaker for a small-time Philadelphia mobster. The Rio Chama below Abiquiu dam can relate; like Rocky Balboa, Abiquiu’s flood control and water storage day job is far from sexy. During irrigation…

  • Voices from the river

    Running toward it

    Thoughts of recreation and even fishing now feel indulgent

    We were just at the point of beginning to wash our hands all the time, after the first few cases were confirmed in New Mexico during my son’s spring break.   The plan was to head to Utah and fish the San Juan on the way home. We camped the first three nights at Canyonlands, where we took a couple long…

  • Voices from the river

    Querencia: A love of place

    In 2011, when I was still president of New Mexico’s Santa Fe (Truchas) Chapter, I was approached by Nick Streit, president of the Taos (Enchanted Circle) Chapter and owner of the Taos Fly Shop, about restoring a section of the Red River in Questa. The Red had been a workhorse for several decades, impacted by…