High Country News visits Bears Ears

Editorial takes a trip, our holiday party gets closer and welcome new staffers!


After reading, writing and thinking so much about Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, several members of High Country News’ editorial staff took a field trip to see the place in person in mid-November. We spent an afternoon soaking in the sun on a hike through piñon-juniper forests below the buttes that inspired the monument’s moniker. At sunset, we stood atop Muley Point, on the edge of Bears Ears, and gazed out over the twisting canyon of the San Juan River and the red- and gold-painted cliffs of Cedar Mesa. We came back refreshed and inspired anew to write about the landscapes and communities of the West.

Graham Brewer, second from right, with editorial staff members watching the sunset in Bears Ears.
Anna V. Smith

If you’ll be in Paonia, Colorado, HCN’s hometown, on Dec. 7, please join us for our annual holiday celebration. We’ll be hosting an open house at our office from 5 to 7 p.m. We’d love to see you there; otherwise, consider dropping by any time, as subscribers JoAnne and Richard Petersen of Longmont, Colorado, recently did. The pair brought along their canine companion, Tess, who promptly charmed the entire office. Thanks for stopping by, Petersens!

We’d like to welcome two new staff members to the HCN team. Graham Lee Brewer, as our newest contributing editor, is helping steer our coverage of tribal affairs. Graham is a board member of the Native American Journalists Association and a member of the Cherokee Nation. He’s based in Norman, Oklahoma, where until recently he covered cops, courts and crime for The Oklahoman. “I’m really excited to be here to help HCN tell the stories of Native peoples,” Graham says. “Accurately representing Indigenous communities is something we really care about, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this effort.” We’ve had the pleasure of hosting him for two weeks here in Paonia as he settles into the job — welcome, Graham!

Lisa McManigal Delaney is our new customer service assistant. She’s been reading HCN for more than 20 years, since coming across the magazine while working at the Rocky Mountain Institute in Basalt, Colorado, in the mid-1990s. Lisa says she always tried to snag the office copy before anyone else could take it. “It just connected everything I was interested in,” she says. It also put Paonia on her radar; she and her family moved to town about four years ago. “Ever since I moved here, I thought, ‘Oh, I want to work there someday,’ ” she says. We’re so glad to have you, Lisa!

Finally, we have a clarification to make. In a recent story about the Glen Canyon Dam (“Busting the Big One” HCN, 9/4/17), Jack Schmidt, the former chief of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, should have been described as being one among a group of scientists who came up with plans for experimental pulse flows through the canyon; he was not the sole originator of the plans.

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