Feature stories

What fire researchers learned from Northern California blazes
What fire researchers learned from Northern California blazes
In California, land managers use fire as a tool.
Ancestral Pueblo logging practices could save New Mexico pinelands
Ancestral Pueblo logging practices could save New Mexico pinelands
Researchers look to the past to better fight fire.
A tale of two parks: How the Bakken boom transformed a landscape
A tale of two parks: How the Bakken boom transformed a landscape
While a North Dakota national park is an oasis from drilling, a nearby state park is thrown open.
Browse High Country News feature stories
Closing in
Closing in
One of the greatest challenges facing Western military bases comes from the growth of urban sprawl.
Crown of horns
Crown of horns
Unexpected encounters with an injured bull elk and a couple of teenage boys lead a writer to consider the meaning of fatherhood.
Security vs. sovereignty
Security vs. sovereignty
American Indians who use tribal I.D. cards face harassment when they try to cross the border between the U.S. and Canada.
True tests of 'Stay and Defend'
True tests of 'Stay and Defend'
Australia’s recent fires may have scorched “Stay and Defend,” a firefighting strategy American Westerners had thought of emulating. Also: Birds are shifting their winter range.
How low will it go?
How low will it go?
If Eric Kuhn is right about the Colorado River, then the state faces a dry and difficult future of fighting for water.
The call of the tame
The call of the tame
Jack London devoted much of his short life to what we would now call sustainable agriculture on his beloved Beauty Ranch in California.
Wind setbacks
Wind setbacks
Everyone wants alternative power in theory, but nobody wants to live next to giant wind turbines.
The struggle to remember the nuclear West
The struggle to remember the nuclear West
A writer tries to dig up the buried history of Colorado’s Rocky Flats weapons plant, now home to a controversial wildlife refuge.
No backup on the Northern border
No backup on the Northern border
Sheriff Donna Matoon and her 11 overworked deputies patrol Montana's Toole County and keep an eye on the Canadian border.
Canary in the old growth
Canary in the old growth
Public-land managers grapple with using indicator species to monitor the health of troubled ecosystems.
Justice for all
Justice for all
Jensie Anderson meets with homeless clients every Sunday underneath a Salt Lake City viaduct.
Carrying your own load
Carrying your own load
Sharon Levy’s friends, Kerby and Irene, lived off the grid in Northern California and taught her a lot about life.
Dust to dust
Dust to dust
The western Colorado town of Uravan no longer exists, but its history of radium and uranium mining lives on.
Non-navigable River Blues
Non-navigable River Blues
An obscure legal ruling muddied U.S. water-protection standards, leaving Western intermittent streams and rivers unprotected.
Inventory of loss
Inventory of loss
After the family home is lost to wildfire, Gordon Gregory faces the pain of having to remember and describe everything he lost.
Political guns
Political guns
Every winter, Yellowstone park rangers risk their lives dynamiting avalanches so snowmobile tourists can get across Sylvan Pass.
All Aboard
All Aboard
American railroads -- especially passenger trains -- seem to be at last on the brink of a revival.
The West goes to Washington
The West goes to Washington
Barack Obama is bringing Westerners to Washington, including Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to run Homeland Security, and Cabinet picks Ken Salazar, Hilda Solis and Steven Chu.
Audio: A BLM insider speaks
Audio: A BLM insider speaks
A former national recreation director talks about the pressures on government employees during the Bush administration.
Nonprofitable times
Nonprofitable times
Many conservation groups are feeling the pinch.
The missing puzzle piece
The missing puzzle piece
In southwestern Colorado’s Crow Canyon, archaeologists are working with Native Americans to solve the historical mysteries of the Four Corners area.
Digging deep
Digging deep
An innovative local program helps Hispanic heroin addicts recover by renewing their ties to the land.
Pillaging the Past
Craig Childs explores the fine line that separates archeology from grave-robbing in the American Southwest.
Flagstaff searches for its forests' future
In the wake of a huge forest fire, environmentalists seek consensus on how to restore to health the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, Arizona.
Disappearing railroad blues
The merger of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads creates a monopoly that may leave some of Colorado and Utah's working towns without rail transport for their coal.