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Essays

  • Safe out there

    To an aging, mentally ill woman named Jade, the beautiful Colorado day is filled with sinister, frightening demons, and even a well-meaning neighbor can do nothing to drive them away.

  • The American Dream, sans gasoline

    The author’s successful search for a car that can run on biodiesel helps her understand the lure of the open road

  • In the suburbs of Los Angeles, your futureawaits

    The neighborhoods of suburban L.A. can serve as a useful model for the West’s urban planners

  • The allure of the gnarled

    It took a while, but the writer eventually came to see the strange, harsh beauty of the gnarled old pinon and juniper trees in Canyon Country

  • Why should the Arctic Refuge matter to the ski industry?

    If the United States doesn’t come up with an intelligent energy strategy, global warming could spell the end of the ski industry

  • The knowledge of mules

    After more than a decade of a solitary existence packing mules in the Northern Rockies, the writer is seriously injured and must reconsider his way of life.

  • The bigger the mine, the better the deal

    Land swaps, like the one planned to save land near Yellowstone National Park from mining, are a bad habit with a bad history in Montana's national forests.

  • This land holds a story the church won't tell

    The Mormon Church would like to buy all of Martin's Cove, Wyo., where Mormon pioneers died 146 years ago, but the writer believes the historical site should stay in the hands of the public, so the full story can be told.

  • We aimed for Russia and hit the West

    The Atomic Energy Commission deliberately lied about radiation dangers to miners and other Westerners.

  • Utah and the Ute Tribe are at war

    Distrust from past betrayals makes Utes stall Utah on Central Utah Project.

  • The luckiest horse in Reno

    After a herd of wild horses is massacred in Nevada, Deanne Stillman ponders the bones in the desert.

  • Conservation groups come and go. Why?

    Pat Munday decries the “professionalization” of environmental groups.

  • The amphibian heart

    Aaron Gilbreath rescues red-spotted toads and wishes he could preserve the unraveling strands of his grandmother’s memory.

  • Too many elk and not enough tough love

    Jeff Welsch decries the “ungulate welfare” on display in the overcrowded winter feeding grounds of Wyoming’s National Elk Refuge.

  • Coffeepots and climate

    Shane Bondi seeks to understand the connection between a lump of coal, a power plant and that first cup of coffee in the morning.

  • The mysticism of mud

    Ernest Atencio ponders an exceptionally muddy Mud Season in New Mexico, and notes how readily most Westerners forget that we live in an arid landscape.

  • Feeding time

    Will Rounds, who was once a very squeamish vegetarian, describes hacking apart the body of an elk to feed wolves at Mission:Wolf.

  • Cold dead fingers

    Ed Quillen considers Charlton Heston, the Second Amendment, and the rights, wrongs and responsibilities of gun ownership out West.

  • Tough sledding

    Kate Krautkramer ponders the ramifications when her 7-year-old son abruptly tells his best friend that he doesn’t believe in God.

  • A hard winter makes you think

    Rhonda Claridge describes a hard winter in the high mountains and points out that one seldom-acknowledged effect of climate change could be harder winters in some parts of the world.

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