Items by Geoffrey O'Gara

A visit to the Grand Canyon, without handrails
A visit to the Grand Canyon, without handrails
A wild river is “a necessity of the human spirit.”
The Big Secret: Highly toxic pesticides in the Rockies
Although the use of toxic chemicals for agriculture in the Rocky Mountains is a public health concern, it is not a matter of public record.
Bicentennial bash is more than a party for tribes
Tourists following the Lewis and Clark Trail may not get the eager welcome from Native Americans that they’d like
The Last Open Range
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
Waterless in Wind River?
Midvale, Wyo., farmers worry after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed last year that the tribes of the Wind River Reservation have rights to over 500,000 acre-feet of water.
Saga of a High Country Newsman
The effort to get the word out -- about wilderness, about archaic mining laws, about illegal shooting of golden eagles, and so many more issues besides -- would cost Bell his ranch, many of his friends, and, very nearly, his sanity.
The middle of the madding crowd
Has much changed since Rudyard Kipling toured Yellowstone in 1889 and wished he were dead, rather than be among preening American tourists?
Gas sours wildlife in Wyoming
Wildlife killed by poisonous, hydrogen sulfide-laden "sour gas" leaking from a natural gas well raises concerns about future oil and gas drilling in Wyoming.
Watt's wilderness proposal sets agenda for energy industry
To an energy industry stretched thin, Interior Secretary James Watt's temporary ban on oil and gas drilling in wilderness areas is something of a favor.
Juggling wildlife and 'other needs'
Is U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service head Robert Jantzen cutting an already undernourished budget and favoring ranching interests over wildlife in his predator control and grazing policies?
Getting no breaks at C.M Russell
Livestock grazing and wildlife clash in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's management plan for the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge.
The Overthrust moneybelt: Difficult dispersal of impact dollars
A natural gas boom around Evanston, Wyoming, has brought a rise in violent crime, traffic and disintegration of rural culture, but funds set aside to mitigate the impacts haven't been properly applied.
Project Lighthawk gets conservationists off the ground
With his small plane, Michael Stewartt flies journalists, government officials and activists around the Rocky Mountain region to give them a birds-eye view of strips mines, coal-fired power plants and areas of scenic beauty.
'Ecotage' seeks wild ends but won't make friends
No philosophical or psychological rationale speaks to the effectiveness of ecotage, Politically, what made sense for the Sixties activists is unlikely to work for wilderness advocates in the Eighties.
Jeffrey City: "I don't know a person in town who isn't thinking of leaving"
In Jeffrey City, Wyo., a 25-year-old boom town that lies in one of the most hostile environments in the country, the local union struggles to hold the town together amid layoffs caused by a downturn in the uranium industry.
Anaconda: The smelter shuts down, and so does the town
Citing antiquated equipment, pollution control problems and foreign competition, Atlantic Richfield Co. announced recently that it will not reopen its Anaconda, Montana, copper smelter, which employs nearly 1,000 people.
Powder River's new rail track moves forward despite foes
Chicago and North Western Transportation Corp. is inching its locomotives towards the coal fields of the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. But local ranchers, Wyoming's governor and the powerful Burlington Northern Railroad are all trying to keep it out.
States, courts, cutbacks put pressure on strip mine agency
Even as strip mines multiply throughout the Rocky Mountain states, the federal agency responsible for overseeing reclamation of mined lands -- the Office of Surface Mining -- is reeling under a series of blows.
In situ uranium project springs leak, but pumps again
The fate of Wyoming's first commercial-size in situ uranium mine remains uncertain following a Nuclear Regulatory Commission decision giving the operation 90 days to prove it can operate without polluting ground water near Buffalo, Wyo.
Cache la Poudre River: last Front Range chance to flow
Farmers and advocates of Front Range growth winced last month when the U.S. Forest Service and State of Colorado recommended that most of the Cache la Poudre River be protected from major development.
Workers, plants, confusion come to 'sweeten' Evanston gas
Two large "sweetening" plants -- which remove toxic hydrogen sulfide from natural gas -- are slated for construction near Evanston, Wyoming.
Fraud freezes oil leases; reform bill falters
The future of federal gas and oil leasing has been thrown into turmoil by evidence of extensive fraud, an Interior Department shutdown of the present program, and a report critical of legislation intended to overhaul the system.
The grizzly: How many? Where? For how long?
The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, a group of game experts from state and federal agencies, may determine the future of the grizzly.
How many coal bucks should a smart state lasso?
States apply a variety of severance taxes to non-renewable resources such as coal, defying efforts to create a unified, national approach.
Teapot Dome earns big as private drillers steam
Oil pumped from the federal oil reserve at Teapot Dome, Wyoming, sells at prices six times higher than oil from adjacent private fields because of price controls.
Federal energy program taking shape in Congress
After more than seven years of trying, Congress is close to enacting a comprehensive national energy program that would include a government-sponsored synthetic fuels program and a "fast-track" board to speed domestic energy projects.
Hail and farewell! 1979
A Holiday season ode to the West's environmental issues of 1979: "It's time for reviewing the year first to last: // A remembrance of two dozen deadlines past. // Water and wilderness, endangered species, // Oil, Alaska, railroads and coal leases;"
Canny CERT gets respect, money, problems
Despite its problems and dissidents, the Council of Energy Resource Tribes -- comprising 25 tribes who own one-third of the low sulfur coal west of the Mississippi and as much as half the privately owned uranium in the country -- is emerging as a serious player in the energy development game.
DeSmet coal-to-gas plant in the works again
The small town of Buffalo, Wyoming, may face an influx of more than 20,000 people if Texaco Inc. and Texas Eastern Corp. go ahead with plans for a strip mine and coal gasification plant near Lake DeSmet.
Wildlife and livestock face off in refuge battle
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management are cutting back on grazing permits in Montana's Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, angering ranchers.
Northern Tier oil pipe likely to go if dollars flow
The 1,500-mile Northern Tier pipeline, which would transport Alaskan crude oil from Port Angeles, Wash. to Clearbrook, Minn., is expected to be approved by Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus and President Carter.
High Country News Classifieds
  • OPERATIONS AND FINANCE MANAGER
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness, a national grassroots organization led by women, seeks a resourceful, self-motivated, team player to serve as Operations and Finance Manager....
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    ORGANIZATIONAL BACKGROUND Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) fosters community stewardship, education and awareness of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...
  • WYOMING STATE DIRECTOR
    Save the World ... or at least a piece of it! Join The Nature Conservancy and make a tangible and lasting impact by creating a...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCACY NON-PROFIT NEAR YOSEMITE
    Demanding, but rewarding, advocacy work on forest, water, wildland, and wildlife issues. Applicants should have experience dealing with land management planning, public speaking, grassroots organizing,...
  • NEW AGRARIAN APPRENTICESHIP
    Quivira Coalition's 2020 New Agrarian Apprenticeships in Regenerative Ranching and Farming -Apprenticeships run 4/20 - 11/20 Applications accepted 10/15/19 - 12/1/19 NAP partners with skilled...
  • PHILANTHROPY DIRECTOR AT WILDERNESS WORKSHOP
    Wilderness Workshop seeks a full time Philanthropy Director to raise funds for our team. Learn more: www.wildernessworkshop.org
  • EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT WITH WESTERN RESOURCE ADVOCATES
    Western Resource Advocates (WRA) seeks an enthusiastic and organized problem solver to join our growing team as an Executive Assistant. The Executive Assistant is instrumental...
  • WYOMING OUTDOOR COUNCIL
    Two positions: Development Director OR Development Writer, Communications Director. Full job descriptions at https://wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org/careers.
  • CONSERVATION PROJECT MANAGER
    Great Land Trust seeks to hire a Conservation Project Manager. Position is full-time, based in Anchorage, Alaska. First review of applications will be on October...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Eagle Valley Land Trust Executive Director Position Description Summary of Position: The Executive Director, working with and reporting to the Board of Directors, has overall...
  • FINANCE & LOGISTICS COORDINATOR
    The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, founded in 1928 as an independent nonprofit organization, is a biological field station located near Crested Butte, Colorado. Our primary...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    See Full Job Description
  • DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
    Position: Development Coordinator Responsible to: Executive Director Time Commitment: 15-20 hours per week, or as otherwise agreed upon General Description: The Development Coordinator assists the...
  • EDUCATION CENTER MANAGER
    Friends of Cedar Mesa seeks a full-time Education Manager for the Bears Ears Education Center to provide day to day operational and administrative oversight. See...
  • TROUT UNLIMITED SCP SOUTHWEST REGIONAL DIRECTOR
    Seeking to hire an experienced advocate/manager to oversee the organization's sportsmen/women-driven advocacy in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Open until filled
  • PROGRAM MANAGER
    for northern AZ collaborative conservation ranchlands group
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Partners are seeking an experienced and energetic Executive Director who is excited about the opportunity to lead our growing organization! A full description of the...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    High Country News Seeks an Executive Director to advance its mission, grow its audience and influence, and strategically and sustainably guide the organization through a...
  • 2 PROPERTIES ON THE WESTERN EDGE OF THE GILA WILDERNESS
    Organic farm, hot springs, San Francisco River runs through both. [email protected]
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.