Feature stories

This Cherokee congressman is for Trump – and Indian Country
This Cherokee congressman is for Trump – and Indian Country
Markwayne Mullin, who is hard-right and white-passing, may not seem like an Indigenous lawmaker, but he’s no anomaly.
Beads are easier to connect than family
Beads are easier to connect than family
In Beth Piatote’s first short-story collection, a niece learns beading and other lessons.
George Takei recounts internment’s long shadow
George Takei recounts internment’s long shadow
The actor and activist remembers his childhood detainment by the U.S. government during World War II in a new graphic novel.
Browse High Country News feature stories
How the gray wolf lost its endangered status — and how enviros helped
How the gray wolf lost its endangered status — and how enviros helped
A strategic miscalculation by environmental groups helped spur the delisting of gray wolves in Montana and Idaho.
The One-Eyed Squirrel of Ooh-Aah Point
The One-Eyed Squirrel of Ooh-Aah Point
Ol' One-Eye of Ooh-Aah Point leads a wildlife-loving trail-crew worker to act a bit out of character…
Greening a city ... and pushing other colors out
Greening a city ... and pushing other colors out
The proposed redevelopment of San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood worries its longtime black residents, who fear gentrification will drive them out.
An interview with Carter Niemeyer, author of "Wolfer: A Memoir"
An interview with Carter Niemeyer, author of "Wolfer: A Memoir"
Emilene Ostlind talks with Niemeyer about his years tracking, capturing, relocating and removing wolves in the Northern Rockies, and his perspective on wolf management.
U.S. Northern Rockies wolf graph
Velocity, Ferocity and the Gem City
A Gem City Atlas: Novel maps of Laramie, Wyoming
A Gem City Atlas: Novel maps of Laramie, Wyoming
The city explores its past and present with an innovative project called Laramie: A Gem City Atlas.
Walking in the body of being
Walking in the body of being
Not everybody understands why pinacate beetles are such good company, but philosopher Baruch Spinoza is likely one of them.
Doctor's Orders: Undam the Klamath
Doctor's Orders: Undam the Klamath
Both Indians and whites battle diabetes on the Klamath watershed, where dam building ended the salmon runs that once kept the First People alive.
Three Tribes, a Dam and a Diabetes Epidemic
Three Tribes, a Dam and a Diabetes Epidemic
On North Dakota's Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, a diabetes epidemic has its roots in the dam that flooded the tribes' farmland and destroyed their way of life.
Where has Montana’s water gone?
Where has Montana’s water gone?
The Yellowstone River Compact may not protect Montanans who rely on the Tongue River’s water.
Wild lands by any other name
Wild lands by any other name
For 18 years, Westerners have been arguing about BLM’s wilderness-worthy land; now, the Obama administration has stepped in.
Yellowstone bison get more room to roam
Yellowstone bison get more room to roam
Wild bison are making headway towards roaming more freely in Montana.
Bureau of Land Management, Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas
Yellowstone River Basin
Prevalence of Diagnosed Diabetes
Three Cups of Tea, the sequel
Three Cups of Tea, the sequel
The fallout from the fracas over Greg Mortenson's book, "Three Cups of Tea," ranges from Afghanistan to Montana and the Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride, Colo.
Bridging American Indian students' scientific achievement gap
Bridging American Indian students' scientific achievement gap
Educator Michael Ceballos breaks down the barriers keeping young Native Americans from careers in science.
The most influential conservationist you’ve never heard of
The most influential conservationist you’ve never heard of
The Sierra Club's Debbie Sease has spent three decades on Capitol Hill, fighting for the West.
A misguided investigation ends an era in Arizona
A misguided investigation ends an era in Arizona
Over-zealous federal agents destroyed the unique atmosphere of the Navajo Reservation’s Hubbell Trading Post.
Wind farms test efforts to cooperate on Oregon’s Steens Mountain
Wind farms test efforts to cooperate on Oregon’s Steens Mountain
Legislation protecting the mountain fails to prevent energy development proposals.
Steens Mountain wind farms
Steens Mountain wind farms
Columbia Energy Partners plans to build four 104-MW wind farms with 40 to 60 turbines each on Steens Mountain. East and West Ridge will be on private land inside the protected area boundaries, Echanis on private land just outside the protected area and Riddle Mountain on state land.
Cuts to energy, transportation and the environment
Federal budget deal slashes key community water funds
Federal budget deal slashes key community water funds
Federal budget cuts dry up the funding for crucial community water projects.
Privatization threatens an Arizona national forest
Privatization threatens an Arizona national forest
Arizona's Tonto National Forest has forgotten that it belongs to the American citizens who pay to support the West's public lands.
Today's garden plants can be tomorrow's invasives
Today's garden plants can be tomorrow's invasives
Some popular ornamental garden plants have become invasive, particularly in California.
Rare-earth reality check
Rare-earth reality check
Suddenly, everyone is eyeing the West's rare-earth deposits, but mining and processing the metals will not be easy.
The sign maker
The sign maker
The wooden signs Phil Garfoot made still offer directions to his friends, even after his death.
Sedimentation is a building problem in the West's reservoirs
Sedimentation is a building problem in the West's reservoirs
The West's reservoirs are waging a constant battle against rising levels of sediment.
Rare earth deposits in the West
Selected Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs ... and how they've shrunk*
Muddy Waters: Silt and the Slow Demise of Glen Canyon Dam
Muddy Waters: Silt and the Slow Demise of Glen Canyon Dam
A float down the Lower San Juan teaches surprising lessons about dams, water and silt in the West.
Can bandits: Recycling fraud hits California
Can bandits: Recycling fraud hits California
Criminals steal millions from the state -- one nickel at a time
Uncommon Westerner: Bevan Frost crafts custom guitars
Uncommon Westerner: Bevan Frost crafts custom guitars
A luthier credits his Western upbringing with shaping the instruments he builds.
How the Civil War shaped the West
How the Civil War shaped the West
The Civil War ended slavery -- and also determined how the West would be developed.
Photographer Sharon Stewart on the acequia tradition
Photographer Sharon Stewart on the acequia tradition
The photographer discusses landscape photography and her immersion in a tiny New Mexican town.
Peter McBride on photographing the contentious Colorado River
Peter McBride on photographing the contentious Colorado River
National Geographic photographer Peter McBride shows images from his new book and discusses what he learned while working on it.
The Tao of Pow: Learning to love winter
The Tao of Pow: Learning to love winter
A newcomer to Utah learns to love winter with the help of snowshoes.
Elite club blocked from logging giant redwoods
Elite club blocked from logging giant redwoods
The Bohemian Club -- a Northern California retreat for the rich and powerful -- meets a legal roadblock that stops it from quietly logging old-growth redwoods.
BLM stays course in Wyoming gas patch despite mule deer decline
BLM stays course in Wyoming gas patch despite mule deer decline
Mule deer on Wyoming's Pinedale Anticline are struggling, and the BLM's adaptive management plan has done nothing to help.
Rural Oregon timber county seeks economic revival through renewables
Rural Oregon timber county seeks economic revival through renewables
Rural Lake County, Ore., has gone from a timber economy to one based on producing - and exporting - renewable energy.
Oregon sculptor turns beach trash into meaningful art
Oregon sculptor turns beach trash into meaningful art
Angela Haseltine Pozzi makes thought-provoking art from the trash that washes up on Oregon's beaches.
Pacific chorus frogs make urban comeback

Pacific chorus frogs make urban comeback

Pacific chorus frogs are making an unexpected resurgence in San Francisco, with a little help from human friends.
Beef cattle operations, 1980-2010
Cattlemen struggle against giant meatpackers and economic squeezes
Cattlemen struggle against giant meatpackers and economic squeezes
Ranchers battle gigantic meatpackers to get a fair price for cattle in a changing economy.
Lakeview renewable projects proposed and in progress
Montana transmission lines draw opposition from all sides
Montana transmission lines draw opposition from all sides
Republicans battle Republicans, environmentalists battle environmentalists, over power lines for wind and solar energy.
California crab-boat captain powers through tsunami to safety
California crab-boat captain powers through tsunami to safety
A Crescent City, Calif. crab boat captain maneuvers his way through a tsunami-whorled sea in order to save his fishing boat.
Mount St. Helens: A world apart?
Mount St. Helens: A world apart?
Washington's Mount St. Helens is protected as a living volcanic-recovery laboratory, but a completely "natural" environment has never been possible.
New national forest rule lacks rigor
New national forest rule lacks rigor
Environmentalists like the tone of the Forest Service's new draft planning rule, but worry about how - and if - it will be enforced on the ground.
Forestry + genetics = a blister rust solution?
Forestry + genetics = a blister rust solution?
Genetic sequencing may hold the key to stopping blister rust, a disease that's ravaging Western whitebark pines.
An Unusual Miss Navajo
An Unusual Miss Navajo
Radmilla Cody, who made history as the first biracial Miss Navajo and later served time in prison, now uses her singing to fight racism and domestic violence.
Major proposed and existing transmission lines in the West
Western wildlife commissions on the chopping block
Western wildlife commissions on the chopping block
In Washington and New Mexico, state wildlife commissions could become a thing of the past.
In Navajoland, a contentious water deal divides the tribe
In Navajoland, a contentious water deal divides the tribe
The Navajos are on the brink of getting water they've long been entitled to, but not everybody on the reservation is pleased.
Jeff Rice on documenting the West in sound
Jeff Rice on documenting the West in sound
Hear the sounds Jeff Rice collects around the West and learn about why he does it.
Defriending Joe Hill: Stegner's lesson for the Oscars
Defriending Joe Hill: Stegner's lesson for the Oscars
Wallace Stegner struggled over the ethics of writing a “fictional biography” of labor organizer Joe Hill; today, filmmakers blithely make “fictional biographies” of living characters like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Jeff Rice collects nature's noises
Jeff Rice collects nature's noises
Jeff Rice records the natural sounds of the West.
Arizona's Fossil Creek gets restored -- and loved to death
Arizona's Fossil Creek gets restored -- and loved to death
Arizona's Fossil Creek, dramatically brought back to life, is now endangered by the hordes of people who love it.
How my thoughts on wolves have changed
How my thoughts on wolves have changed
An Alaskan who loves wolves has come to believe that aggressive predator control is often necessary.
Craig Medred on predator-prey science
Craig Medred on predator-prey science
Both proponents and opponents of predator control claim to have science on their side. But the actual science -- and all of its complexities -- is often lost in the debate.
Alaska intensive predator management areas
Alaska intensive predator management areas
A highlighted map showing the intensive predator management areas
Alaska wolf harvest 1986-2008
Alaska wolf harvest 1986-2008
Chart of Alaska wolf harvest 1986-2008
Palin, politics, and Alaska predator control
Palin, politics, and Alaska predator control
Alaska's politicians and scientists wrestle over how to manage big game and the predators that prey on it.
Plenty of wood in the pile
Plenty of wood in the pile
Nothing says "security" like kind neighbors and a nice big woodpile for the winter.
Rural California schoolkids learn from fire-damaged forest
Rural California schoolkids learn from fire-damaged forest
A rural California school builds an innovative curriculum around a nearby forest and the fire that burned it down in 2007.
Inside Taft High
Inside Taft High
Teacher Ted Pendergrass and his students take us inside the first high school in the country devoted to oil production.
Fast Times at California's Petroleum High
Fast Times at California's Petroleum High
A day in the life of the U.S.'s first high school academy devoted to oil production.
Western court scraps intervention restrictions for enviro lawsuits
Western court scraps intervention restrictions for enviro lawsuits
The 9th Circuit Court tosses its "federal defendant" rule, giving interested parties a clearer path for intervening in environmental lawsuits.
A Nez Perce elder spreads love for lamprey
A Nez Perce elder spreads love for lamprey
Nez Perce elder Elmer Crow teaches children and their parents to respect an uncharismatic parasitic fish, the lamprey.
Judith Lewis Mernit on Obama's enviro record
Judith Lewis Mernit on Obama's enviro record
Judith Lewis Mernit talks with Cally Carswell about how the Obama administration's policies are impacting the West.
Obama’s record on Western environmental issues
Obama’s record on Western environmental issues
Not everybody is happy, but the Obama administration is making slow but steady progress in dealing with the West's environmental issues.
State and municipal governments fertilize local food craze
State and municipal governments fertilize local food craze
Local governments are trying to give a boost to small farmers and organic growers.
California's Hupa tribe wars over fish
California's Hupa tribe wars over fish
Three decades after winning the right to catch salmon, California's Hupa Indians debate whether it's right to sell those fish off the reservation.
Challenges pile up for avalanche mitigation on mountain highways
Challenges pile up for avalanche mitigation on mountain highways
Highway avalanche control gets harder as mountain communities grow and skiers flock to the backcountry.
Depth afield
Depth afield
Why are photographs of the Western landscape so essential to our lives?
Small poultry farmers grapple with lack of slaughterhouses
Small poultry farmers grapple with lack of slaughterhouses
There just aren't enough slaughterhouses for small poultry farms in Oregon and other Western states.
 Utah’s Sagebrush Rebellion capital mellows as animal-lovers and enviros move in
Utah’s Sagebrush Rebellion capital mellows as animal-lovers and enviros move in
Kane County, Utah, heart of the Sagebrush Rebellion and an off-road vehicle paradise, is also home to a growing number of environmentalists, hikers and animal lovers.
A poet whom readers won't let go
A poet whom readers won't let go
The late Northwestern poet William Stafford has friends and admirers all over the world today.
My walkabout with Michael
My walkabout with Michael
Author Pat Toomay shadows iconic Western photographer Michael Berman on a trip through the Gila Wilderness.
Real hunters get the lead out
Real hunters get the lead out
Lead bullets are harmful to hunters as well as to the environment.
Foraging for fungi in the Pacific Northwest
Foraging for fungi in the Pacific Northwest
A banner year for mushrooms raises questions about the science behind fungi and the impacts of wild harvesting.
Ronald Reagan: The accidental environmentalist
Ronald Reagan: The accidental environmentalist
Former president's poor economic record had environmental benefits.
I hope you're not suffering from nyctophobia
I hope you're not suffering from nyctophobia
How we can help our neighbors who suffer from an irrational fear of the dark.
A long journey home
A long journey home
The Winnemem Wintu Tribe wants to return salmon to California's McCloud River by bringing back the fish’s descendents, now in New Zealand.
Teaching Whitney to cook
Teaching Whitney to cook
An environmental educator discovers a rewarding way to help the planet -- teaching a young woman how to cook.
Forecasting 2011
Forecasting 2011
Columnist Ed Quillen peers into his crystal ball to see what's in store for the West next year.
Sportsmen protest New Mexico antelope hunting system
Sportsmen protest New Mexico antelope hunting system
New Mexico's system for doling out licenses to hunt pronghorn gets a poor grade from the state’s hunters.
Coyotes move into Colorado’s Front Range
Coyotes move into Colorado’s Front Range
Urban communities on Colorado's Front Range are trying to cope with an influx of coyotes.
Activist brings diversity to green orgs
Activist brings diversity to green orgs
Marcelo Bonta's Center for Diversity & the Environment works to bring people of color into the environmental movement.
The BLM's conservation experiment
The BLM's conservation experiment
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar tells the BLM to get serious about managing the National Landscape Conservation System.
California’s Tangled Water Politics
California’s Tangled Water Politics
Will there ever be enough water in California's Bay Delta to satisfy farmers, keep fish alive and quench the thirst of millions of people?
Ocelots in Arizona?
Ocelots in Arizona?
The first confirmed ocelot sighting in Arizona in 50 years spurs an update of a federal recovery plan.
Oil and Water Don't Mix with California Agriculture
Oil and Water Don't Mix with California Agriculture
In Kern County, Calif., the oil industry shares land and water with fruit-growers and farmers -- not always comfortably.
Farming's Toxic Legacy
Farming's Toxic Legacy
Long-banned pesticides linger in the soils of neighborhoods built on former agricultural land in central Washington.
Debating Preservation in the Southwest's Spanish Missions
Debating Preservation in the Southwest's Spanish Missions
Archaeologists debate how best to preserve Arizona's crumbling missions – and sometimes ask if it’s time to let them die.
The supposedly protected Wyoming Range faces new energy development
The supposedly protected Wyoming Range faces new energy development
Roughnecks and hunters are fighting plans to drill for natural gas in the Hoback-Noble Basin of the Wyoming Range.
Western Climate Initiative moves forward, smaller than imagined
Western Climate Initiative moves forward, smaller than imagined
Cap and trade is dead in Washington, D.C., but a few states are hoping to limit emissions through the Western Climate Initiative.
Housing keeps getting tighter all the time
Housing keeps getting tighter all the time
In many Western tourist towns, locals can't afford to buy houses, even as trailers and other affordable dwellings are evicted or banned outright.
A divine business
A divine business
In Bozeman, Mont., 78-year-old Vern Bandy says he finds water using the legendary art of dowsing.
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