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Essays

  • The fine art of bureaucracy

    Forty years ago, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation commissioned 40 artists to document -- and glorify -- its dam and reservoir sites.

  • For the love of stuff

    For the love of stuff

    A decision to buy a new car spurs thoughts of a beat-up, rusty old Datsun station wagon.

  • Change we could believe in

    Change we could believe in

    How to fix the West by consolidating land agencies and charging people to build in Stupid Zones.

  • Trashing the earth, and the truth

    Hal Herring relates the ugly story of how the Bush administration used its influence to try to kill a story about the impacts of energy development.

  • A word in favor of rootlessness

    The author of Rogue River Journal muses on the power of place.

  • Methow Homecoming

    Methow Homecoming

    A man contemplates his relationship with a landscape that he is always loving and leaving.

  • Real work

    Real work

    The joys – and hardships – of outdoor physical work take a toll.

  • Welcome to hard times

    Welcome to hard times

    Ed Quillen finds a silver lining behind the current economic clouds.

  • The Doc is in

    The Doc is in

    Rural folks find common ground at a vet's office in Western Colorado.

  • Let it mellow

    Let it mellow

    Melissa Hart remembers her eccentric, independent great-grandmother, who taught her about reuse and recycling long before it was fashionable.

  • Mayberry and Peyton Place

    Mayberry and Peyton Place

    Public policy has ravaged America's small towns, despite lip service by some politicians.

  • Midnight in Montana

    Dorothee Kocks tingles with joy after a night spent listening to a live jazz sextet in a northwestern Montana mining town.

  • Religion, politics and culture

    Religion, politics and culture

    When religion tries to dominate culture and politics, it hurts all three, as seen in the battle over the rights of gay Americans.

  • Bear necessities

    Bear necessities

    Seth Cohen describes a close encounter with a grizzly – and an even closer encounter with grizzly-strength pepper spray.

  • A Western primer

    A Western primer

    Western writers offer a generous and inspired list of recommended reading for the president-elect, including a diverse collection of fiction and nonfiction.

  • The old man and the stream

    A brief encounter with an elderly fisherman moves W.S. Robinson to think about the mysteries of life and death -- and fathers and sons.

  • Under the asphalt a rumor thrives

    In Grand Junction Colo. a team of investigators excavate a downtown parking lot in search of an old safe supposedly buried a century ago.

  • Measuring Tahoe’s blues

    Jon Christensen accompanies scientists trying to measure the opacity and “blueness” of Lake Tahoe.

  • Power of the picture

    Power of the picture

    High Country News photographer Morgan Heim joins the International League of Conservation Photographers to document the gasfields and the wildlands around Pinedale, Wyo.

  • Home is where the guilt is

    In Santa Fe, N.M., April Reese wrestles with the question of whether owning a new house is worth being responsible for the bulldozing of pinon and juniper trees.

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