Items by Ed Marston

The West lacks social glue
Despite its posturing as the helpless colonial victim of powerful corporations and the federal government, the West isn't so much weak as it is passive.
The rural West: An artifact of the 19th century
This essay examines the blend of economic and social defenses that has kept the West on its own track for the past century.
The reopening of the Western Frontier
Thanks to a mixture of geography, climate and natural resources, the rural West became the domain of a particular way of life that has lasted for 100 years. But today its economies are in retreat, and the Western frontier is reopening.
O'Toole is the Adam Smith of forest economics
O'Toole has done all of us, including the Forest Service, a great favor. His genius and hard work have shown us that the national forests are governed by a welter of laws whose purpose and workings are exactly the same as those of the 1872 Mining Law.
Two Forks will unite Colorado
From the outside, to a casual observer, Two Forks is inexplicable. From the inside, Two Forks is the only solution to the Denver metro area's -- and the West's -- dilemma that existing leadership can conceive of. Understand Two Forks, and understand the West.
Exxon tangles with Wyoming over taxes
Wyoming, already hard-hit by the long decline in oil and gas prices and exploration, is further strapped without the taxes it expected from Exxon's LaBarge project.
The Imperial Valley sits down with the upper basin
It may not have been historic, but it was certainly startling to find several directors and staff members of California's Imperial Irrigation District at a recent meeting with the most knowledgeable water experts, attorneys and even politicians from the upper basin states of the Colorado River.
Yet another unneeded power plant starts generating
The Intermountain Power Project, the latest in a series of large power plants in the Southwest that keep California cities lighted, fired up this summer.
In search of a few long levers
Environmentalists should look beyond the regulate-litigate approach and consider things like superconductivity, which could have substantial long-term environmental benefits.
Hoover Dam, 1990s version: The Superconducting Collider
To the Rocky Mountain West, the $4.4 billion atom smasher represents economic development of the most desirable kind.
The Forest Service kowtows while forests burn
Our belief is that America will recover itself by the end of this decade, and stop the destruction of the forests. To do that, it will have to destroy the once-proud U.S. Forest Service. That will be easy, for the agency has deeply wounded itself.
Wyoming's vast, scarred Red Desert
The Red Desert is quiet now, but the marks remain from a period of oil, gas and uranium exploration and extraction.
EPA rips the Two Forks EIS
The Environmental Protection Agency has given a flunking grade to the draft version of a $30 million environmental impact statement on the Denver metropolitan area's future water supply system.
How the Ute Tribe lost its water
The way in which the Northern Utes of northeast Utah have lost their water to the Central Utah Project is both difficult to believe and all too believable.
Marriage of convenience
Even as we make our alliances, there is no doubt that the environmental movement's next great effort will be to contain and civilize the "recreation" industry, the "retirement" industry, and whatever else moves into the economic vacuum in the rural Rockies.
The West cleans up its act
An acid rain-causing copper smelter in Douglas, Ariz., closes.
The West's top stories: land, land, land, land
The 1986 High Country News index beginning on page 8 lists hundreds of individual stories, but all are about the same question: the use and control of the land.
Treaty ends Colorado water wars
The City of Denver, the West Slope's Colorado River Water Conservation District and the Northern Colorado Water Conservation District have decided to end decades of courtroom and political bloodletting by signing a tripartite agreement.
They built better than they knew
The upper Colorado River was plumbed to put water on arid lands and to generate electricity. Today those uses are in decline while recreation, urbanization and aesthetics come on strong. Through luck or forethought, the river's plumbing is proving adaptable to the new demands.
How could anyone oppose, or favor, the Garrison Project?
North Dakota's Garrison Project would irrigate hundreds of thousands of acres, cost about $1 million per farm, devastate wildlife habitat, and add only a tiny fraction to the state's farmland. But the project would also reassure a remote, hurting and suspicious part of America.
The Missouri River: Developed, but for what?
America can't keep its hands off its rivers. In the Columbia and Colorado basins, the damming and diverting has produced new economic bases, enormous amounts of irrigated desert lands and green cities in what was desert. But the transformation of the long, wide, muddy Missouri has had little effect on the region.
The stuff of moral tales
Will just enough be done -- by increasing the number of fish hatcheries, by limiting logging, and by rationing the fishtake -- to keep the salmon runs marginally alive? Or will more far-reaching steps be taken to bring back the spirit, as well as the fish, of the good old days?
When water kingdoms clash
A water deal between California's Imperial Irrigation District and the Metropolitan Water District was to bring water marketing of age. Instead, it has revealed the pitfalls that lie in the path of water marketing.
Western water made simple
Western water once existed in a protected world unto itself, made up of complex laws and regulations, tight political alliances, bureaucracies and massive federal subsidies. But now it is subject to real world forces, making it understandable.
Real reclamation
The choice by Kennecott and Asarco to clean up their smelters early on rather than be pushed out because of pollution shows that reduced livestock and logging industries can also survive -- but only if they adapt.
The West's lakes are safer
Environmental Protection Agency's decision to close the Phelps Dodge copper smelter in Douglas, Ariz., will reduce acid rain in mountain lakes like those in Wyoming's Wind River Range.
Gudy Gaskill and some friends build a 480-mile trail
The Colorado Trail -- a Denver to Durango mountain path for hikers, horses and mountain bikes -- is being built for a pittance by volunteers after a well-funded professional effort collapsed several years ago.
Taking on the farm banks
A sheep-ranching family struggles against the Production Credit Association, a bank meant to help farmers but that sometimes appears to turn on them.
Anger, blame, depression
A hearing in March 1986 at the Colorado State Legislature almost ended in a fist fight when an attorney for the Farmers Home Administration supposedly called a farmer "boy."
Reserve your condo now at the Stapleton Airport
An enterprising reporter has uncovered the secret of low air fares out of Stapleton Airport. Airlines are indeed losing money on each ticket sold. But they are simultaneously raking in enormous commissions from parking lots, news stands, food dispensers and bars.
High Country News Classifieds
    The Grand Canyon director, with the Grand Canyon manager, conservation director, and other staff, envisions, prioritizes, and implements strategies for the Grand Canyon Trust's work...
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a part-time Administrative Assistant to support the organization's general operations. This includes phone and email communications, office correspondence and...
    Built in 1901, The Crazy Mountain Inn has 11 guest rooms in a town-center building on 7 city lots (.58 acres). The inn and restaurant...
    by Edith Tarbescu. "One Will: Three Wives" is packed with a large array of interesting suspects, all of whom could be a murderer ... a...
    The Program Director will oversee the programmatic initiatives of The Salazar Center, working closely with the Center's Director and staff to engage the world's leading...
    Salary Range: $70,000-$80,000. Location: Denver, CO, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Missoula, MT or potentially elsewhere for the right person. Application Review: on a rolling basis....
    Position Description: Full-time seasonal positions (mid-March through October) Organizational Background: Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a 10 year old nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of...
    Position Description: Part-time, year-round bookkeeping and administration position (12 - 16 hours/week) $16 - $18/hour DOE Organizational Background: Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a 10...
    San Isabel Land Protection Trust seeks a full-time Land Steward to manage and oversee its conservation easement monitoring and stewardship program for 42,437 acres in...
    Ventana Wilderness Alliance is seeking an experienced forward-facing public land conservation leader to serve as its Executive Director. The mission of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance...
    The Quivira Coalition ( is a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education,...
    "We all love this place we call Montana. We believe that land and water and air are not ours to despoil, but ours to steward...
    The Development Director is responsible for organizing and launching a coherent set of development activities to build support for the Natural History Institute's programs and...
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF or Federation) is America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 53 state/territorial affiliates and more...
    The Cinnabar Foundation helps protect and conserve water, wildlife and wild lands in Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem by supporting organizations and people who...
    Come experience Work You Can Believe In! The Nature Conservancy in Alaska is seeking a Trustee and Philanthropy Relations Manager. This position is critical to...
    -The Land, History, and People of the Bears Ears Region- The Bears Ears and Cedar Mesa region is one of the most beautiful, complex, diverse,...
    Position will remain open until January 31, 2021 Join Our Team! The New Mexico Land Conservancy (NMLC) is a non-profit land trust organization dedicated to...
    Non-Profit Management Professional specializing in Transitional Leadership, Strategic Collaborations, Communications and Grant Management/Writing.
    Close to town but with a secluded feel, this eco-friendly home includes solar panels, a graywater reuse system, tankless hot water, solar tubes, and rainwater...