Essays

Public land is the essence of freedom
Public land is the essence of freedom
A hunter reflects on the gut-level connection she has to the public land she traverses.
Coal. Guns. Freedom?
Coal. Guns. Freedom?
How the Trump administration has seized mythologies around coal.
Close encounters with a scary fire season
Close encounters with a scary fire season
As wildfires have ripped through the West, take stock of what climate change has wrought.
Wilderness politics are anything but simple
The President of the Montana Wilderness Association's governing council offers an opinion on the Montana Wilderness bill.
This process is out of control
If the Spanish explorers could have foreseen the many bitter conflicts over the Colorado, speculated historian Norris Hundley, they might have named it "River of Controversy:'
This bird fills more niches than a cowpie has bugs
The author reflects in magpies.
The West's nuclear Mandarins have reaped what they sowed
To those of us who grew up in the 1950s reading I.F. Stone's Weekly, with its regular exposes of the dangers of above-ground nuclear testing, the accompanying coverups and denials, and the silence of the mass media on those subjects, the end of all nuclear testing is a shock.
Let's stop dirt-bike noise and 'the-end-is-here' noise
"Wise-users" may not have much influence, but they should give environmentalists pause to reconsider their long-run strategies.
Power could come from a shared vision
These two special issues of High Country News say that we have overbuilt our electric power system by up to five times. We could shut down up to four out of five power plants, coal mines, and hydroelectric dams while providing the same services and a higher quality of life.
'I lay lizard-like on a boulder, basking and sun-drying'
I'd always had this urge, possibly primeval, to live in a cave for a while.
Everett Ruess: 'I have really lived'
Unless he returns to tell it himself, we'll never know his fate for certain, but it appears that he began to realize that his love of wilderness, his quest for oneness with nature, had him trapped. He knew he could never go back.
How you and a bear can survive a chance meeting
When meeting a black bear, friendly or otherwise, it is best simply not to move ...
Where neighbor is a verb
Minutiae matters in rural South Dakota.
Death and anarchy above Tucson
A head-on. From the skid marks it looked like the Camaro had been cutting the inside of the curve, way over the double-yellow centerline ...
Politics can't save endangered species
We proudly say that ours is a government of laws, not of men. But there are times when we expect too much of laws and not enough of women and men. This is the case with the failure of the Endangered Species Act.
A father's view of a dam proposal
One weekend in April, I was planning to be on the Colorado River, spending some time in Horsethief and Ruby canyons. Winds and cold temperatures cancelled my plans. Instead I found myself in the office reviewing the" Application for Preliminary Permit" for the Horsethief Canyon Water Power Project.
Echoes from a fire at Beaver Creek
Today I sat in a stand of lodgepole pine trees that met death during the Beaver Creek fire in Grand Teton National Park. Their charred trunks bristled the hillside like quills on the back of a porcupine huddled in self-protection. Unlike people, these trees remain standing after their deaths, sentinels in their own graveyard.
Yellowstone: We must allow it to change
In Yellowstone, managerial control is not love; biology and philosophy, to say nothing of politics, economics, theology and the rest, ought to cooperate to form an ethics that seeks to appreciate, rather than to manipulate.
Yellowstone: The Erotics of Place
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is landscape that loves bison, bear, elk, deer, moose, coyote, wolf, rabbit, badger, marmot, squirrel, swan, crane, eagle, raven, pelican, red-tail, bufflehead, goldeneye, teal, and merganser.
Facing up to the end of the petroleum era
The National Energy Strategy, revealed earlier this year, is not really an energy strategy at all. It is an economic program, aimed toward the short-term benefit of the domestic oil industry and other existing energy corporations.
Dakota dust: denial, delusion, dishonesty
This essay takes as its starting point the blowing dust of March 1988, a virtual dust bowl over the eastern half of the Dakotas.
The perils of illegal action
The more one becomes involved in conscious law-breaking, whether nonviolent civil disobedience or monkeywrenching, the more one needs to be scrupulously deliberate about doing so.
The rural West: a playground for the rich?
A posh development near Santa Fe riles locals.