Available Digital-Editions of High Country News

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Holding Fast April 01, 2021

Holding Fast

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In this issue, we bring you not one but two feature stories: The first dives into the Chinook Nation’s century-long battle for federal recognition, while the second looks at how a proposed land exchange in McCall, Idaho, pushed the locals to seek new ways to preserve public access. In reportage, we learn how Colorado gets stuck with the cleanup bill when energy companies abandon old oil and gas wells. The Biden administration faces major decisions on issues affecting tribal lands and water, and a new report focuses on internet infrastructure in Indian Country. With traditional sources of conservation funding dwindling, we ponder a difficult question: Who should pay to preserve the West’s land and wildlife? Elsewhere, we discuss Montana’s new anti-trans legislation and delve into the shadowy history of Albuquerque’s racist housing market. Our “Facts and Figures” department explains how the West’s unusually deadly avalanche season is, ironically, largely due to the region’s low snowfall. We talk to Kathy Reed, who hopes to carry on the legacy of Alma Smith Jacobs, Montana’s first Black librarian, and we review two promising debut novels, along with a thriller by a young Indigenous filmmaker. Finally, in “Heard around the West,” we learn that mountain lions don’t belong in basements, and that it’s not necessarily a good idea to invite large wildlife to a big backyard buffet.

The Rough Road Ahead March 01, 2021

The Rough Road Ahead

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In this issue, our feature story looks at the ways our culture criminalizes homelessness, focusing on an Oregon man who was caught in a cycle of poverty and policing that ended in his unexpected death. We also dive into the climate crisis, as drought further stresses the Colorado River Basin and impacts California’s Punjabi American farmers. Elsewhere, we consider what might change under the new administration, as President Joe Biden pauses oil and gas leasing on public lands and halts construction on his predecessor’s border wall. In Nevada, we investigate a lithium mine that was fast-tracked without the input of a nearby tribe. We’re still keeping an eye on COVID-19 — checking out a successful telemedicine program, meeting the foreign-born doctors easing health-care shortages in the West, and talking to a vet-virologist about the first case of the disease in a Utah wild mink. We review a book about life in the Bakken oil fields, ponder new perspectives on art in the desert, and, as always, find something to smile about in our column, “Heard around the West.”

End of the Line February 01, 2021

End of the Line

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In this issue, we focus on some of the ways the ongoing transition away from coal will be felt across the West. Our feature story profiles Diné activist Nicole Horseherder and her long quest for an equitable energy economy on the Navajo Nation. A half-century ago, what law professor and scholar Charles Wilkinson dubbed the “Big Buildup” transformed the West’s energy economy; now, it’s coming to an end in the “Big Breakdown.” We talk to some of the workers at the Boardman coal-fired plant in Oregon, as it shutters. Elsewhere, in Wyoming, we look at how communities are turning to wind power to make ends meet as they figure out how to get by in a future less dependent on fossil fuels. In other news, we look at how Western tribes are taking over land-management responsibilities at places like Montana’s National Bison Refuge. And we examine the disturbing links between the attempted coup in Washington, D.C., and the right-wing extremism rooted in the West. Activist Jackie Fielder discusses housing inequities in the time of COVID-19, while in rural Colorado, we meet a unique group of LGBTQ+, anti-fascist, pro-gun ranchers who have put together a community of their own. Finally, we reflect on the legacy of legendary Western author William Kittredge and reconsider Joan Didion's vision of the West.

No Place Like Home January 01, 2021

No Place Like Home

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In our first issue of 2021, we dive into the concept of home, leading off with an in-depth feature about second-home owners in Gunnison County, Colorado, who fought back after county officials asked them to leave when COVID-19 arrived. Throughout the West, we learn how small towns with already-overheated housing markets are seeing a staggering increase in prices during the pandemic as the Zoom boom sends workers flocking to more desirable locations. Our cities are changing, too, as is shown by a unique research project in Seattle that details the many ways in which COVID-19 is transforming urban landscapes. In many places, evictions are on the rise, but in Pima County, Arizona, some of the constables charged with enforcing evictions are finding ways to help tenants stay in their homes. In Juneau, Alaska, an 80-year-old tugboat reveals a very different problem: the abandoned vessels that are littering the West coast. We talk to interesting people like Danielle Geller, a trained archivist who researches her mother and ponders the meaning of family, and former EPA program leader Mustafa Santiago Ali, who wants to help communities go from merely surviving to thriving. We also meet Nick Tilsen (Oglala Lakota), whose arrest for protesting President Trump at Mount Rushmore links him to a long history of Indigenous resistance. Finally, in her Bell Prize-winning essay, Kimberly Myra Mitchell describes how she found solace from grief in the midst of fighting wildfires.

A Community Divided December 01, 2020

A Community Divided

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In this issue, High Country News checks out election results from across the Western U.S., with a special focus on issues involving climate, justice and power at both the local and national levels. Our feature story visits Evanston, Wyoming, where a grassroots movement called WyoSayNo fought to block private companies from building an immigrant detention center in the economically struggling town. In California’s Coachella Valley, we meet families who have been waiting for years to get clean and safe drinking water. We consider the lasting impacts of William Perry Pendley’s illegal stint as head of the Bureau of Land Management, noting how his efforts to undermine new backcountry conservation areas in Montana also undermined trust in land management. In Denver, we look at how legacy environmental organizations are working to move past their racist beginnings and rebuild relationships with neglected communities of color. We meet a group of Black cowboys, who are enthusiastically training for the annual Arizona Black Rodeo in Phoenix, and hear from environmental lawyer Dinah Bear about what the Trump administration’s changes to the National Environmental Protection Agency mean for the West. Finally, some of our favorite Western writers recommend good books for winter reading, and we experience how joy and sorrow come together in Olivia Durif’s reflection on the intimacy of natural burials at a quiet Washington preserve.

When the Smoke Clears November 01, 2020

When the Smoke Clears

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With election results looming and wildfires still burning, this issue’s on-the-ground reporting – from the Inland Northwest to southern Arizona – canvasses the landscape for solutions. Our feature takes a deep dive into the history, and future, of a co-operatively managed food distribution hub in Spokane, where small farmers collaborate in the name of community – and where the pandemic opened the door for new partnerships. We spend time in Arizona’s Patagonia Mountains with the Soto family, whose connection to their land has survived the boom-and-bust cycles of a legendary mining region. Documentary photos convey their story and enrich the entire issue. A photojournalist memorializes the “silent guests” on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Montana, where missing and murdered Indigenous women refuse to be forgotten. This issue roves the Intermountain West with stories about wildlife connectivity; a hunter for whom queerness and rural identity are forever intertwined in the high Montana sagebrush; and a Las Vegas couple navigating multiple jobs, parenting and homeschooling. We also hear from researchers, who explain why wildfire models cannot keep up with the extremes of climate change, and how COVID-19 imperils efforts to keep invasive species from spreading. Finally, we spend time with a historian, who ponders the lessons of Redwood Summer; a poet, whose lyrical portraits fight off harmful misrepresentations; and a novelist, who updates a Latin American literary trope for the digital age.

Democracy's Frayed Western Front October 01, 2020

Democracy's Frayed Western Front

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As this highly anticipated election draws ever closer, High Country News takes a look at how the campaign season has been affecting parts of the West. Portland, Oregon’s political landscape was rocked when federal troops brought tear gas to the #BlackLivesMatter protests, but it’s anyone’s guess how, or whether, the turmoil will affect the upcoming mayoral election. In Nevada, young canvassers are working to get out the Latino vote, while a decades-long battle over the Las Vegas Pipeline finally comes to a peaceful conclusion. Our feature story from Grand Junction, Colorado, the new headquarters of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, considers how the presidential candidates’ competing energy goals will impact the West’s economy and public lands. Elsewhere, we examine census data showing how rural counties benefit from counting incarcerated individuals in the counties where they’re imprisoned instead of the ones where their homes are located. In Indian Country, the disrupted census count is likely to leave tribal nations underrepresented and underfunded, while in Alaska, 11 tribes are pushing for a better environmental consultation process. Finally, we review Ruthie Fear, a new novel that confronts gentrification in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, and White Utopias, a nonfiction book about cultural appropriation at festivals like Burning Man.

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