Writers on the Range


Writers on the Range is opinion from the ground up. Got a beef with beef? An experience that changed your mind about the American West? Writers from the region tell their story in 750 words. Op eds are syndicated to 50-plus papers, and they also appear here, on the HCN website. For more information, contact Writers on the Range editor, Betsy Marston: betsym at hcn.org.


Water suit vital to coal and agriculture
Environmental Defense Fund staff member Kathy Fletcher doesn't hide the fact that her group is upset about the rush to develop the coal resources of the Northern Great Plains.
Confessions of a recycler
One person's view of experiences drawn from a recycling program, pointing out major problems and giving tips to others who are interested in recycling.
Population -- a perplexing problem
I submit that perhaps in our zeal to prevent the extinction of threatened species we have not sufficiently evaluated the seriousness of the threat to ourselves -- Homo sapiens.
In bondage to the moguls
Eastern power utilities have been telling the press that they are being forced to pay high prices for coal from nearby sources, and that they can buy Western coal and ship it across the country more cheaply. But then they file monthly reports with the Federal Power Commission that tell a different story.
Stripping bill filled with loopholes
Despite efforts by some legislators, a federal bill to regulate coal strip-mining is woefully weak and filled with the kind of loopholes that coal and utility lobbyists have written into state strip-mining regulations over the past 30 years.
Rangers to restore fire in the Tetons
A National Park Service plan to use "safe," prescribed wildfires to restore pristine ecological conditions in Grand Teton National Park may signal the end of the Smoky Bear era.
Attacking trash at the source
We talk about the growing problem of solid waste disposal, about the wonders of landfills-turned-parks, and about the ways we could reuse our solid waste at home, but we haven't quite made the point that we as individuals must attack the source of the solid waste problem.
Stepping on the golden egg
HCN author Bruce Hamilton recalls testifying against the proposed Grand Teton Jetport at a hearing in Jackson, Wyo.
In defense of trail cycling
Riding a trail-type motorcycle along a challenging trail through broken terrain or a remote scenic area can provide a genuine thrill, no matter what your age.
The limits to parks
Overpopulation in our national parks of the two-legged and 4-wheeled varieties threatens to destroy the very thing visitors come to see. Wilderness quality is rapidly being displaced by quantity in the growing numbers of visitors, vehicles and facilities in the parks.
Controversy in Jackson Hole
The congressional and presidential decision to finance a $2.2 million airport expansion to accommodate jets in Grand Teton National Park is an extension of an already flagrant violation of the park's stated conservation policy.
Into the La Garita
The second part of a two-part series about a backpack trip into Colorado's La Garita Wilderness.
Whither Man?
The most critical question of our times is: can man use his reason well enough to reverse his attack on the life systems of the planet that supports him.
A myth penetrated
A scientist's scathing reflection on resistance by the Bureau of Land Management, the Idaho Fish and Game Department and the U.S. Forest Service to addressing the die-off of bighorn sheep in Idaho's Morgan Creek Winter Range.
A difference in governors
Letters from Gov. Hathaway of Wyoming, Gov. Anderson of Montana, and Gov. Guy of North Dakota respond to the question of how coal resources should be treated in those states.
Vandals with paint cans
We should be angry with those thoughtless or deliberately destructive people who smear, daub, or spray names, initials, and obscenities in paint across the landscape, destroying in the process one of our basic natural resources, the beauty of our land.
He asked for specifics ...!
Wyoming's Governor Stanley K. Hathaway has fired verbal broadsides at environmentalists for always criticizing but never offering "specifics." The Governor seems not to be a dedicated or consistent reader of High Country News, else he would find much food for thought therein.
Citizens speak out on wilderness
A letter sent by 17 men and women from Moab, Utah, to the Supervisor of the Manti-La Sal National Forest criticizes policies such as the 1872 Mining Law and advocates for wilderness designation.
Valid concerns expressed
Two anonymous federal employees tally up the total potential impacts -- on water, community development, wildlife, and more -- of the energy projects like the North Central Power Study project that are proposed for the Powder River Basin.
Hidden Story
The Bureau of Reclamation concealed its study of the Montana-Wyoming aqueduct -- a key part of the plan to radically expand coal energy production in the Powder River Basin -- by distorting the Freedom of Information Act.