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Essays

  • FBI was out to get freethinking DeVoto

    Writer and conservationist Bernard DeVoto was thoroughly investigated by the FBI.

  • Clifton, Arizona: A town no one knows

    Mining town gives visitors a picture of the old - and the new - West.

  • A forester thrives in the belly of the beast

    Len Lankford manages private Colorado forests for sustainable yield.

  • Sacred places: The West's new, booming extractive industry

    No place is safe from nature-loving Baby Boomers, essayist says.

  • Why Why? A stark, no-frills retreat from the world

    A look at the Arizona desert town of Why.

  • A life to fry for: hot on the trail of bighorn

    Charles Bowden tracks wild sheep in the desert heat. Excerpted from Gary Paul Nabhan's anthology, Counting Sheep.

  • Plowing under the fields of shame

    Rebecca Clarren talks to migrant farmworker women about a threat they face every day in the fields: sexual harassment and assault by coworkers and bosses.

  • Butte ponders the power of Evel

    Notorious daredevil Evel Knievel is the star of Butte, Montana’s "Evel Knievel Daze," but not everybody in his hometown looks up to him

  • Like Butte, a lonely dog hangs on

    A mysterious, mangy, half-wild dog known locally as "The Auditor" has made the moonscape of the Butte’s Berkeley Pit his home for 16 years, hanging on to life as stubbornly as the town of Butte itself.

  • At Yucca Mountain, deadlines take precedence over science

    The Bush administration is ignoring the warnings of the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board created by Congress, and is racing ahead with its plans to store nuclear waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain

  • If a town is more dead than alive, it's the Old West

    Musing on the gravestones in Anaconda, Mont., a writer theorizes that one can tell whether a town is Old West or New West by the ratio of the buried to the currently alive inhabitants.

  • Underworld

    In a dark, narrow storm drain below the border town of Douglas, Ariz., eight illegal immigrants drowned in the summer of 1997

  • Nine reasons why a river is good for the soul

    A writer on a river trip through canyon country muses on things like sand, rapids, ruins and time, as well as the joy that comes from being outside in the company of family and friends

  • How we lost our ranch to gas drilling

    A rancher recounts how oil drilling destroyed her rural lifestyle and forced her and her husband to sell their western Colorado ranch

  • 'There was just some hard hittin' going on'

    Matt Jenkins visits the annual Combine Demolition Derby in the tiny farming town of Lind, Wash.

  • Worlds converge in energy's shadow

    Photographer Jared Boyd spends a day with Navajo Alice Benally, who lives less than a mile from the Four Corners Power Plant but only received electricity last year

  • Why did Norton really leave Interior?

    If outgoing Interior Secretary Gale Norton didn’t receive a push out the door, she certainly deserved one after her involvement in the sleazy Jack Abramoff scandal

  • Prey at the waterhole

    The experience of watching a mountain lion is utterly transformed when the watcher realizes he is the one being watched

  • Dems contract case of self-delusion — or not

    The Democratic bloggers on the netroots seem to be prone to wildly optimistic self-delusion – and then again, maybe they’re not so crazy after all

  • Fishing ban will make us forget salmon

    Fishing is not the reason behind the decline of the Northwest’s salmon; the desire for cheap hydroelectric power is

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