Implicit in the late Wallace Stegner's phrase, "a society to match the scenery," is the belief that the West is built from the bottom up, and that the health and vitality of the land and its wildlife will be determined by the health and vitality of the communities that dwell on that land.


With this issue, High Country News begins a series of portraits in words and photographs of little-known Western places that are shaping and will shape the West. The articles are nonideological, but they are informed by the conviction that the future of the region will not be determined by presidents or land managers or the Congress or even by national constituencies that care about the West.


Ultimately, the West will be shaped by Stegner's "stickers' - by communities and individuals who figure out how to live in and adapt to the region over the longer term.


This series is dedicated to the stickers of yesterday, today and tomorrow, beginning with the people who built Butte, from the bottom up.


* Ed Marston