ARIZONA Phoenix voters have their own question about land preservation on the Sept. 7 ballot. For the third time in four years, Scottsdale residents are being asked to help pay to save the McDowell Mountains from development. And on election night, the council will consider spending $32 million for the purchase of the 800-acre Brown's Ranch, north of Dynamite Road and west of Granite Mountain. The parcel is laden with archaeological ruins and historical sites.

COLORADO 63 years after the first guest checked into the historic McGraw Ranch, the ceiling of the barn-dance hall has begun to cave in. If all goes according to plan, the 1,200-acre McGraw Ranch will be reborn in 2001 as a top-notch research center where visiting scientists can stay and study, lending their knowledge to officials so they can better manage the park. At a time when western park managers are rethinking the agency's tendency to devalue historic structures on national-park land, the $1.5 million project is being touted as a model of how a piece of history can be preserved by just putting it to use. Work on the Old Hundred Mine boarding house has nearly been completed. The boarding house, built in 1905, sits on a steep slope at 12,300 feet on Galena Mountain, about five miles east of Silverton. Money for the project came from a $49,5000 State Historical Fund grant and a $15,000 Bureau of Land Management matching grant.

CYBERIA In The Ecological Indian, anthropologist Shepard Krech sets off into the dangerous but compelling territory of Native American identity. As the title suggests, Krech is intent on examining the commonly and often dearly held belief in the Indian as ecologist par excellence. The drought of 1999 may be bad news for many Virginians, but for archaeologist Lyle Browning, the James River's low flow provides a rare chance to study Richmond's early industrial history.,2107,87161-137711-915236-0,00.html "There has been a gap in thinking," said Hisao Baba, curator of anthropology at the National Science Museum in Tokyo. "Archaeology has made a lot of progress, but politics has made it difficult for the general public to take a critical look at their own past."