Browse High Country News issues
The study of tree rings opens a window into the West’s distant past, and warns us that the region’s future may be dangerously hot and dry. Also in this issue: As the Colorado River Basin enters its sixth year of drought, the seven states that rely on the river for water are forced to work together on a new plan for water use.Browse issue
Under increasing political pressure from the Bush administration and its appointees, some agency scientists are finding it difficult to keep both their jobs and their integrity. Also in this issue: The omnibus appropriations bill just passed by Congress contained more than a few anti-environmental riders, but not all of them survived for the president’s pen to sign.Browse issue
HCN lays out the West's 10 most critical issues and the paths toward positive results on everything from energy development and drought to federal agency practices and endangered species. Also in this issue: A judge rules against a plan to salvage-log old-growth forest from the Timbered Rock Fire in Oregon, and some say the ruling could affect other proposed fire sales in old-growth forests.Browse issue
Rick Johnson of the Idaho Conservation League is working with Republican Congressman Mike Simpson on a wilderness bill for the Boulder and White Cloud mountains, but not everybody in "Planet Idaho" is happy with the bill. Also in this issue: Many of the people who supported George Bush, a president with an anti-environmental record, also voted for environmental ballot measures and green-leaning candidates.Browse issue
A new generation of fire managers works with fire, rather than just fighting it. Also in this issue: Ski bums try to survive in Ketchum, Idaho; the Sierras get a conservancy, and a river gnaws away at a tribal reservationBrowse issue
Aspen, Colo., and other mountain resort towns burst with wealthy baby boomers' second, third and even fourth homes. But for much of the year those houses sit empty, and the towns are turning hollow Also in this issue: The Bush administration halts three gas wells on Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, and tosses a few more election-year bones to environmentalists and hunters.Browse issue
Stewart Udall and his brother, Mo, were conservation icons in the 1950s and ‘60s, but their sons – Rep. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Rep. Mark Udall of Colorado – face a harder fight in today’s Congress, where Democrats are the minority and conservation has become controversial. Also in this issue: The Bush administration’s new salmon plan treats dams as a natural part of the landscape, and sees a recovery plan as more important than actual species recovery.Browse issue
The battle over Northwestern old-growth forests is raging again, but behind the scenes, some locals are trying to make peace. Also in this issue: In Wyoming, Gov. Dave Freudenthal tries to put the brakes on the oil and gas leasing rush, but the drilling frenzy continues across the West.Browse issue
Wamsutter, Wyo., is a boomtown these days, but the town is struggling to be a real community, instead of just a barracks for the natural gas industry. Also in this issue: In Colorado and elsewhere in the West, the fear of West Nile Virus brings the controversy about spraying pesticides to a boil.Browse issue
In Sierra Vista, Ariz., a partnership of developers, environmentalists and government agencies is trying to keep the San Pedro River alive, while at the same time allowing for continued growth in this burgeoning Sunbelt city.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Assistant Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett wants Congress to give the Bureau of Land Management increased incentive to sell off more public lands.Browse issue
For all the heroism of their achievement, Lewis and Clark would not have survived long without the help of the many Indian peoples they encountered in the West.
The Bush administration says governors have 18 months to ask the Forest Service to protect roadless areas in their states, but the states will have to pay for the costly and complex petition process.Browse issue
A conservation movement is stirring on the Great Plains, but local farmers are stuck with a harsh reality: It still pays to plow up virgin prairie.
The Forest Service plans to rein in cross-country travel by off-road vehicles, but enforcing new rules may prove next to impossible.Browse issue
Mountain pine beetles are attacking more forests and more varieties of trees — and thriving at higher elevations than ever before — and some scientists believe global climate change is at the root of the problem. Also in this issue: A recent Supreme Court ruling in a Utah wilderness lawsuit will limit the ability of citizens to sue the government over how its agencies manage natural resources.Browse issue
On a 10-day walk through the northwestern New Mexico desert, the author follows an ancient road that leads him from silent Indian ruins into noisy, modern gas fields. Also in this issue: Land managers have been talking about letting more wildfires burn, but the recent blowup of the Peppin Fire near Capitan, N.M. – home of Smokey Bear – leads to renewed talk of aggressive fire suppression.Browse issue
Wal-Mart wants to build more giant Supercenter stores in the West, but communities like Inglewood, Calif., are starting to take a stand against the world’s largest company. Also in this issue: Even the National Rifle Association came out in support of a Tucson, Ariz., open-space saving bond, which passed in a landslide despite complaints from critics that it was just pork.Browse issue
Some activists hope that the current hard times facing both workers and the environment will resurrect the strong alliances that once existed between greens and labor unions. Also in this issue: NOAA Fisheries is drafting new regulations that will allow hatchery-raised fish to be counted along with wild salmon and steelhead, a move that property-rights lawyers hope will take the species off the endangered list.Browse issue
The West’s environmentalist lawyers are manning the legal barricades, as the Bush administration stealthily attacks the nation’s bedrock environmental laws. Also in this issue: Arizona activists team up with Rep. Raul Grijalva to create a small-scale wilderness proposal for the Tumacacori Highlands.Browse issue
The Bush administration is outsourcing to private contractors jobs formerly done by employees of federal agencies, among them the job of the Forest Service Content Analysis Teams (CATs) – the people who receive and report the comments of the public. The team was sacked, many say to the detriment of the public connection, and with increased cost to taxpayers. Also in this issue: Controversial energy bill, to increase domestic oil and gas drilling and force federal agencies to expedite permits for energy projects on public lands, came back yet again, but was defeated in the Senate, 50-47.Browse issue
With the Interior West almost exclusively Republican territory, "Democrats for the West," a coalition of leaders, have issued a challenge to fellow Democrats to create sustainable Democratic majorities. Also in this issue: While mountain lions receive bad press for what some say is increasing aggression against humans, experts say that humans may be the real problem. Lion killing in most Western states is increasing, and biologists say no state has ever had a sound population estimate for the animals. Without sound data, politics often plays into determining hunting quotas.Browse issue
As private lands become the new frontier in the West’s wild real estate frenzy, ranchers are turning to land trusts in places like Gunnison, Colo., to find out how to hold on to their land and keep it open and undeveloped. Also in this issue: California decides to set its own new "public health goal" for perchlorate contamination, but critics point out that it is both legally unenforceable and lower than the previous goal.Browse issue
In Arizona, a historic water deal could give the tiny, impoverished Gila River Indian Community a path back to its farming roots – and turn it into one of the West’s next big power brokers. Also in this issue: Western ranchers rejoice when a federal court jury finds that the nation’s largest meatpacker, Tyson/IBP, has illegally squeezed $1.28 billion from independent cattle producers.Browse issue
Wyoming’s Green Mountain Common Allotment is one of the West’s last big, wide-open landscapes – but these days, ranchers, environmentalists, history buffs and the BLM are arguing over whether it’s time to start putting up fences. Also in this issue: Nearly a decade after Imperial Valley irrigators fought off a water grab by Texans Ed and Lee Bass, the Imperial Valley Irrigation District buys the old Bass property, Western Farms, and the water rights that come with it.Browse issue
A right-wing coup is under way in the nation’s courts, which George W. Bush is stacking with anti-environmental judges, and the impacts on Western conservation issues are not going to be pretty. Also in this issue: National Park Service wilderness coordinator Jim Walters resigns in frustration over the agency’s neglect of wilderness, after the superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks allows helicopters in wilderness areas.Browse issue
Port Orford, Ore., is working hard to create a new kind of community-based, sustainable fisheries management for the over-fished ocean. Also in this issue: Environmentalists and immigration activists have a few doubts about President Bush’s proposed immigration reform policy.Browse issue
The Bush administration opens up wild lands to oil and gas drilling, pulling the rug out from under two decades of citizen wilderness activism. Also in this issue: Judge Emmet Sullivan reinstates a Clinton-era ban on snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.Browse issue
- Mary Sojourner on Rants from the Hill: Desert Insomnia
- Mary Sojourner on Solace at the end of Homer Spit
- Jennafer Waggoner-Yellowhorse on Why are Hopi rangers impounding sheep at Black Mesa?
- Emma Drew on What’s in the water in Woods Cross?
- Jennafer Waggoner-Yellowhorse on On Black Mesa, the natives make a comeback