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'None of this happened the way you think it did'
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June 10, 2019

In this issue, we delve into a disturbing story from rural Colorado, where bereaved rural residents are helping the FBI investigate a funeral home suspected of illegally selling remains of the deceased. We interview a retired federal biologist on the Interior Department’s current policies; get on the ground with pygmy rabbit researchers; and highlight an ongoing battle between Alaska residents and the military over fishing waters. We report on a new app that could help people find wildfire escape routes, and we check in on a First Nations musician, discuss the state of Indigenous media, and review Stephanie Land’s newest book.

Feature

‘None of this happened the way you think it did’
‘None of this happened the way you think it did’
For years, the clients of a Colorado funeral home kept their loved ones’ cremated remains. Then the FBI called.

Editor's Note

Death, life and friendship in the rural West
Death, life and friendship in the rural West
Rural communities can find solace in one another.

Current

After nearly going extinct, Washington’s pygmy rabbits need room to grow
After nearly going extinct, Washington’s pygmy rabbits need room to grow
Recovering the endangered rabbits will test society’s willingness to let nature reclaim a landscape.
The key to endangered species recovery? Communication.
The key to endangered species recovery? Communication.
A retired federal biologist says Trump’s Interior Department is more business as usual than critics claim.
Alaskans at war with U.S. military over readiness exercises
Alaskans at war with U.S. military over readiness exercises
The small town of Cordova, dependent on salmon fishing, is fighting for control of its waters.
The hidden consequences of New Mexico’s latest oil boom
The hidden consequences of New Mexico’s latest oil boom
Carlsbad residents are experiencing health impacts, but the science behind their woes lags behind the pace of drilling.
Wildfire escape routes? There’s (almost) an app for that.
Wildfire escape routes? There’s (almost) an app for that.
Scientists are using crowdsourced data to help firefighters flee dangerous flames.
Ranchers sue major meatpackers
Ranchers sue major meatpackers
Plaintiffs allege ‘The Big Four’ conspired to reduce cattle prices.

Arts and Culture

Tantoo Cardinal shines in the new film ‘Falls Around Her’
Tantoo Cardinal shines in the new film ‘Falls Around Her’
Darlene Naponse and Tantoo Cardinal team up to create a fascinating study of a First Nations musician who leaves her career behind.

Book Reviews

What it’s like to navigate life below the poverty line
What it’s like to navigate life below the poverty line
A new book humanizes the work America’s poor must go through to try and stay afloat.

Perspective

Survey finds few tribal governments allow press freedom
Survey finds few tribal governments allow press freedom
83% of respondents said stories about tribal government affairs often go unreported due to censorship.

Heard Around the West

Potato living; safe landings; swarms at the bend
Potato living; safe landings; swarms at the bend
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

On the Road to 50: Stitching the Northwest back together
On the Road to 50: Stitching the Northwest back together
The past, present and future of the West, and HCN’s coverage of the region.

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • A CHILDREN'S BOOK FOR THE CLIMATE CRISIS!!
    "Goodnight Fossil Fuels!" is a an engaging, beautiful, factual and somewhat silly picture book by a climate scientist and a climate artist, both based in...
  • DIGITAL ADVOCACY & MEMBERSHIP MANAGER
    The Digital Advocacy & Membership Manager will be responsible for creating and delivering compelling, engaging digital content to Guardians members, email activists, and social media...
  • DIGITAL OUTREACH COORDINATOR, ARIZONA
    Job Title: Digital Outreach Coordinator, Arizona Position Location: Phoenix or Tucson, AZ Status: Salaried Job ID Number: 52198 We are looking for you! We are...
  • DESCHUTES LAND TRUST VOLUNTEER PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Deschutes Land Trust is seeking an experienced Volunteer Program Manager to join its dedicated team! Deschutes Land Trust conserves and cares for the lands...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming seeks an experienced fundraiser to join our team. We're looking for a great communicator who is passionate about conservation and...
  • INDIAN COUNTRY FELLOWSHIP
    Western Leaders Network is accepting applications for its paid, part-time, 6-month fellowship. Mentorship, training, and engaging tribal leaders in advancing conservation initiatives and climate policy....
  • MULESHOE RANCH PRESERVE MANAGER
    The Muleshoe Ranch Preserve Manager develops, manages, and advances conservation programs, plans and methods for large-scale geographic areas. The Muleshoe Ranch Cooperative Management Area (MRCMA)...
  • ARTEMIS PROGRAM MANAGER
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF or Federation) is America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 52 state/territorial affiliates and more...
  • ASSISTANT OR ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES
    Assistant or Associate Professor of Environmental Humanities Whitman College The Environmental Humanities Program at Whitman College seeks candidates for a tenure-track position beginning August 2023...
  • ANNUAL FUND MANAGER
    Working closely with the Foundation's leadership, the Annual Fund Manager is responsible for the oversight and management of the Foundation's annual operating fund. This is...
  • DATABASE ADMINISTRATOR
    Looking for someone who loves public land and understands the value and importance of data in reaching shared goals as part of a high-functioning team....
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    High Country Conservation Advocates (HCCA) in Crested Butte, CO is seeking an enthusiastic Executive Director who is passionate about the public lands, natural waters and...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS
    Are you passionate about connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with volunteer management experience to join...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The conservation non-profit Invasive Species Action Network seeks an executive director. We are focused on preventing the human-caused spread of invasive species by promoting voluntary...
  • NEW BOOK: A FEAST OF ECSTATIC VERSE AND IMAGERY
    Dynamic fine art photographer offers use of images to raise funds. Available for use by conservation groups. Contact at www.anecstaticgathering.com.
  • WANTED: TALENTED WRITER
    Write the introduction to A Feast of Ecstatic Verse and Imagery, a book concerning nature and spirituality. Contact at www.anecstaticgathering.com. Writer who works for conservation/nature...
  • MT STATE DIRECTOR- THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY
    The Montana State Director is a member of The Wilderness Society's (TWS) Conservation program team who plays a leading role in advancing the organization's mission...
  • HIGH COUNTRY NEWS EDITORIAL INTERNS
    High Country News, an award-winning magazine covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, is looking for its next cohort of editorial interns....
  • THE MAGICAL UNIVERSE OF THE ANCIENTS: A DESERT JOURNAL
    Bears Ears, Chaco Canyon, and other adventures in the Four Corners area. 60 photos and lively journals. Purchase hc $35 or pb $25 from bigwoodbooks.com...
  • DIRECTOR OF PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE - HR
    Career Opportunity: Director of People and Organizational Culture Do you have interest in approaching organizational culture from a place of creativity and curiosity? Do you...