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High Country News February 02, 2009

Non-navigable River Blues


All Aboard

American railroads -- especially passenger trains -- seem to be at last on the brink of a revival.

Non-navigable River Blues

An obscure legal ruling muddied U.S. water-protection standards, leaving Western intermittent streams and rivers unprotected.

Editor's Note

Is America ready for the rails?

More business travelers would choose Amtrak if the trains were faster – or if people could get work done during long journeys.

Dear Friends

The HCN miracle

HCN’s readers pitch in financially; new interns Terray Sylvester, Emily Underwood and Jeff Chen arrive.

Writers on the Range

Putting our house back in order

Jaime O’Neill hadn’t planned on vacuuming during Inauguration Day, but housecleaning is a good metaphor for the job facing our new president.

Book Reviews

Catch him if you can

In The Runner, David Samuels profiles a con man named James Hogue, who duped Princeton University with his invented Western biography.

The darkest element

In Uranium: War, Energy, and the Rock That Shaped the World, Tom Zoellner tells the story of the radioactive element.


Carrying your own load

Sharon Levy’s friends, Kerby and Irene, lived off the grid in Northern California and taught her a lot about life.


Political guns

Every winter, Yellowstone park rangers risk their lives dynamiting avalanches so snowmobile tourists can get across Sylvan Pass.

Two Weeks in the West

No news is bad news

The media’s economic crisis is hitting the West particularly hard, with major daily newspapers up for sale. Also: Chicago businessman watches nature via computer.

Uncommon Places

Dust to dust

The western Colorado town of Uravan no longer exists, but its history of radium and uranium mining lives on.

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