Photos: A year around the West, for people who love it

2016 in pictures.

 

This year brought many a blockbuster story out of our fair region, from the Malheur occupation in January to the protests at Standing Rock (see our roundup of top stories) in December, and much in between. But we also covered some of the little-known corners of the always-surprising West. Below we highlight some of the best photos and associated stories from each month of 2016.

January

A smokejumper lands with his parachute still billowing during a training exercise in an open field outside of McCall, Idaho.
Matt Mills McKnight
How smokejumpers prepare for wildfire season

Photos of the rigorous training this special type of firefighter endures.
Read the story and see more photos.


February

Sunset on the California Coast, Union Oil Company of California, Richmond, California.
David T. Hanson

The ‘poisoned landscapes’ we leave behind

Q&A with photographer David T. Hanson about his new book, ‘Wilderness to Wasteland,’ which shows a dystopian side of progress.
Read the story and see more photos.


March
superbloom1-jpg
A hiker’s boots are covered with dense pollen dust shed from the flower-covered desert floor of Death Valley National Park.
Desdemona Dallas

A rare ecological event: ‘super bloom’ in Death Valley

The arid California park is covered in wildflowers for the first time in a decade.
Read the story and see more photos.


April

Several women dressed in traditional FLDS church attire walk on the streets of Colorado City, Arizona. This and the adjoining town are where Warren Jeffs oversaw his polygamist church and where most of his followers live.
George Frey
How the FLDS church consolidated power on the Utah-Arizona border

A recent lawsuit sheds new light on how the polygamist church and municipal leadership are deeply intertwined.
Read the story and see more photos.


May

Hunter Todd Fritz's dogs launch out of his truck box in pursuit of a coyote.
Scott Squire
Photos: Inside the controversial sport of coyote coursing

This subset of coyote hunting involves trained dogs and is relatively uncommon in the West.
Read the story and see more photos.


June

arizona-border-recon-10-jeep-jpg
A member of the Arizona Border Recon, which has volunteers from California, Maine, Arizona, and even some from as far away as China and Australia. The group includes teachers, doctors, ex-military, retirees and several other professions.
Neil Kremer and Cory Johnson
See the members of this unofficial border patrol

The Arizona Border Recon aims to provide intel and back-up for federal officers at the U.S.-Mexican border.
Read the story and see more photos.


July

Unique Halloween costumes and accessories are on display during a themed weekend of cyclocross racing.
Sol Neelman
Photos: A look at the West’s weirdest sports

People compete in everything from pumpkin racing to outhouse sledding.
Read the story and see more photos.


August

Zana, a 4-year-old Mexican gray wolf, tends to her 1-month-old puppies at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. Two pups from the same litter were removed in April to be “cross-fostered” with the Elk Horn Pack in Arizona.
Chicago Zoological Society
Line of descent: How poor management left Mexican wolves dangerously inbred

Missteps and conflict between the state and the feds have hounded the recovery of Arizona and New Mexico’s remaining wolf packs.
Read the story and see more photos.


September

Aedes aegypti mosquito sucking through human skin.
Chfonk/Dreamstime.com
How humans nurtured the hated mosquito

Alexander von Humboldt and the spread of Aedes aegypti.
Read the story and see more photos.


October
Sallee is an extremely experienced diver and takes risks to maximize his catch. After hauling up a bag of sea cucumbers for Jacob to process, he sometimes chooses to return to the depths many times with few breaks that would minimize residual effects of nitrogen in his body.

Photos: Diving for delicacies

One man braves frigid Alaskan seas to harvest sea cucumbers.
Read the story and see more photos


November
A Department of Public Works worker uses a magnetic rake to pick up screws and nails at the site of the Man burn in Black Rock City after the city has dismantled.
John Curley

Photos: How to remove the traces of Burning Man

After the revelers leave, volunteers clean up every piece of trash they can find.
Read the story and see more photos.


December

Sunken cruiser, east of Escalante River.
Hope in a post-nature society

A writer seeks answers from Lake Powell.
Read the story and see more photos.


What will 2017 bring? We hope you'll stay tuned to High Country News to find out.

If you want to see even more photos, take some time to check out our 2016 photo contest submissions.

High Country News Classifieds
  • ASSOCIATE PROGRAM MANAGER
    Associate Program Manager ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND Parks California is a new organization working to ensure that our State Parks thrive. From redwood groves and desert springs...
  • ATTORNEY AD
    Criminal Defense, Code Enforcement, Water Rights, Mental Health Defense, Resentencing.
  • LUNATEC HYDRATION SPRAY BOTTLE
    A must for campers and outdoor enthusiasts. Cools, cleans and hydrates with mist, stream and shower patterns. Hundreds of uses.
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • FREE RANGE BISON AVAILABLE
    Hard grass raised bison available in east Montana. You harvest or possible deliver quartered carcass to your butcher or cut/wrapped pickup. Contact Crazy Woman Bison...
  • CONSERVATION ASSOCIATE - OKANOGAN LAND TRUST (NORTH CENTRAL WA)
    Do you enjoy rural living, wild places, and the chance to work with many different kinds of people and accomplish big conservation outcomes? Do you...
  • CARDIGAN WELSH CORGIS
    10 adorable, healthy puppies for sale. 4 males and 6 females. DM and PRA clear. Excellent pedigree from champion lineage. One Red Brindle male. The...
  • A CHILDREN'S BOOK FOR THE CLIMATE CRISIS!!
    "Goodnight Fossil Fuels!" is a an engaging, beautiful, factual and somewhat silly picture book by a climate scientist and a climate artist, both based in...
  • DIGITAL ADVOCACY & MEMBERSHIP MANAGER
    The Digital Advocacy & Membership Manager will be responsible for creating and delivering compelling, engaging digital content to Guardians members, email activists, and social media...
  • DIGITAL OUTREACH COORDINATOR, ARIZONA
    Job Title: Digital Outreach Coordinator, Arizona Position Location: Phoenix or Tucson, AZ Status: Salaried Job ID Number: 52198 We are looking for you! We are...
  • DESCHUTES LAND TRUST VOLUNTEER PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Deschutes Land Trust is seeking an experienced Volunteer Program Manager to join its dedicated team! Deschutes Land Trust conserves and cares for the lands...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming seeks an experienced fundraiser to join our team. We're looking for a great communicator who is passionate about conservation and...
  • INDIAN COUNTRY FELLOWSHIP
    Western Leaders Network is accepting applications for its paid, part-time, 6-month fellowship. Mentorship, training, and engaging tribal leaders in advancing conservation initiatives and climate policy....
  • MULESHOE RANCH PRESERVE MANAGER
    The Muleshoe Ranch Preserve Manager develops, manages, and advances conservation programs, plans and methods for large-scale geographic areas. The Muleshoe Ranch Cooperative Management Area (MRCMA)...
  • ARTEMIS PROGRAM MANAGER
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF or Federation) is America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 52 state/territorial affiliates and more...
  • ASSISTANT OR ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES
    Assistant or Associate Professor of Environmental Humanities Whitman College The Environmental Humanities Program at Whitman College seeks candidates for a tenure-track position beginning August 2023...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    High Country Conservation Advocates (HCCA) in Crested Butte, CO is seeking an enthusiastic Executive Director who is passionate about the public lands, natural waters and...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS
    Are you passionate about connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with volunteer management experience to join...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The conservation non-profit Invasive Species Action Network seeks an executive director. We are focused on preventing the human-caused spread of invasive species by promoting voluntary...