Items by Ray Ring

Two weeks in the West
Recent elections in the West show support for land-use planning and “convergence politics”; hunting declines in the West, but Satan keeps busy in Idaho, causing divorces.
Tractor politicking
High Country News talks to Dennis McDonald, the Montana rancher who also leads the state’s Democratic Party.
‘Men standing in the shadows began to weep’
Writers John N. Maclean and Mark Matthews look closely at two famous – and deadly – Western wildfires in their new books, The Thirtymile Fire and A Great Day to Fight Fire.
Just put an asterisk on the whole region
How do we Westerners love our drugs? Let Ray Ring count the ways.
Guns R Us
Westerners have always been deeply in love with their firearms, and gun-shop owners like Ryan Horsley are determined to make sure that nothing comes between them
Video Interview: Ryan Horsley
Ryan Horsley talks about Red's Trading Post: its history, his troubles with the ATF, and why he doesn't sell machine guns
An alphabetical speed-load of state-by-state gun facts
The West’s gun laws are an unbelievable hodgepodge, but in general the region is very friendly toward firearms
Fatalities in the energy fields: 2000-2006
At least 89 people died in the energy fields of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming during the last six years
Disposable workers of the oil and gas fields
Disposable workers of the oil and gas fields
Without a college degree, work on the oil and gas fields is the best job you can get in the rural West – unless, of course, it kills you
Election Roundup
Ray Ring offers a state-by-state summary of some of the more intriguing election results across the West
The West: A New Center of Power
The West gains traction as a center of power in 2006, and nine more indicators from the midterm elections.
Brave 'yellowbellies' served the West well
In Smoke Jumping on the Western Fire Line, Mark Matthews tells the story of the conscientious objectors who pioneered smokejumping to fight Western forest fires during World War II
News from the gas fields
Roughneck is a two-year-old monthly devoted to covering the oil and gas industry in Sublette County, Wyoming
Will Montanans reject their bagman?
Even Montanans critical of Sen. Conrad Burns admit he’s a genius at bringing home the pork – a fact that may make it harder for his Democratic challenger, Jon Tester, in the November election.
Fractures on the right
National pundits say the nation’s political parties are moving toward the extremes, but in the West, Republicans – unhappy with some far-right politicians – seem to be heading back to the middle.
'I call (regulations) land stealing ...'
Dorothy English weighs in on the pros – and cons – of Oregon’s Measure 37
Taking Liberties
The Western states are home to a stealth campaign by libertarians who – under the guise of reforming eminent domain – are out to destroy all land-use planning through "takings" ballot initiatives
Stealth campaigns threaten our democracy
The writer says stealth libertarian campaigns seek to hamstring government
'I hope other states don't do this ...'
Renee Ross weighs in on the pros – and cons – of Oregon’s Measure 37
'Great recreation value ... and great economic value...'
Jim Miller weighs in on the pros – and cons – of Oregon’s Measure 37
Takings campaigns around the West
A detailed graph sums up the status of the current "takings’ initiative campaigns in six Western states
'I kick myself for being so naive...'
Ted Schroeder weighs in on the pros – and cons – of Oregon’s Measure 37
'It's clear out of control ...'
Bill Roses weigh in on the pros – and cons – of Oregon’s Measure 37
Magic Valley Uprising
An unusual grassroots coalition of citizen activists stops a coal-fired merchant power plant from being built in Idaho’s Magic Valley
The push is on for 'clean coal'
Led by California, Western states are encouraging the energy industry to move toward cleaner coal technology
Meet Idaho's Revolutionaries
In their own words, some of the Magic Valley citizens who fought the Sempra coal plant describe the uprising and how they got involved in it
Stargazer aims his scopes at gas industry
Astronomer Perry Walker uses his stargazing tools and skills to work with the oil and gas industry to prevent air pollution in Wyoming
President Bush nailed it: Our real addiction is to oil
The writer figures that the oil and gas industry wants marijuana to be legal
Snowy middle ground
Wilderness advocates and snowmobile enthusiasts are working together in Montana to find enough room in the landscape to accommodate both their passions
Hunters could free Yellowstone bison
The writer decries the state-sponsored slaughter of Yellowstone’s bison and calls on hunters to get political
High Country News Classifieds
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Executive Director Position Announcement POSITION TITLE: Executive Director ORGANIZATION: Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument REPORTING TO: Board of Directors EMPLOYMENT TYPE: Part-time - Full-time, based...
  • HEALTHY CITIES PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Healthy Cities Program Director leads and manages the Healthy Cities Program for the Arizona Chapter and is responsible for developing and implementing innovative, high...
  • CONSERVATION PROGRAM MANAGER
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) Conservation Programs Manager Job Opening Our Mission: Honoring the past and safeguarding the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument through...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) Associate Director Job Posting Our Mission: Honoring the past and safeguarding the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument through science,...
  • UNIQUE, ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME ON ACREAGE NEAR MOSCOW, IDAHO
    Custom-built energy-efficient 3000 sqft two-story 3BR home, 900 sqft 1 BR accessory cottage above 2-car garage and large shop. Large horse barn. $1,200,000. See online...
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    Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures (MOLA) - established and profitable outdoor adventure & education business in Missoula, Montana. Summer camp, raft & climb guide, teen travel,...
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    A wonderful country setting for a farm/work 1350s.f. frame home plus 1000 studio/workshop. 5 acres w fruit trees, an irrigation well, pasture and a small...
  • STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR
    Join Skagit Land Trust (the Trust), a not-for-profit conservation organization based in Mount Vernon, Washington, and help protect land for people and wildlife. Skagit Land...
  • 2022 SEASONAL SCIENCE EDUCATOR
    The Mount St. Helens Institute Science Educator supports our science education and rental programs including day and overnight programs for youth ages 6-18, their families...
  • POLICY DIRECTOR
    Heart of the Rockies Initiative is seeking a Policy Director to lead and define policy efforts to advance our mission to keep working lands and...
  • CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
    Self-Help Enterprises seeks an experienced and strategic CFO
  • CONSERVATION SPECIALIST - LAND PROTECTION FOCUS
    View full job description and how to apply at
  • RIVER EDUCATOR & GUIDE
    River Educator & Guide River Educator & Guide (Trip Leader) Non-exempt, Seasonal Position: Full-time OR part-time (early April through October; may be flexible with start/end...
  • LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    The Land and Water Conservation Director is a full-time salaried position with the Mountain Area Land Trust in Evergreen, CO. The successful candidate will have...
  • FOOD SYSTEMS ENVIRONMENTAL FELLOWSHIP
    If you were to design a sustainable society from the ground up, it would look nothing like the contemporary United States. But what would it...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) is seeking an Executive Director who will lead RiGHT toward a future of continued high conservation impact, organizational...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Help protect Montana's water quality, family farms and ranches, & unique quality of life. Work hard, meet good people, make the world a better place!...
  • NEW BOOK:
    True Wildlife Tales From Boy to Man. Finding my voice to save wildlife in the Apache spirit. 365+ vivid colorful pictures. Buy on Amazon/John Wachholz
  • CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
    with Rural Community Assistance Corporation. Apply here: https://www.marcumllp.com/executive-search/chief-operations-officer-rcac
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...