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Atomic Tourists
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May 13, 2019

In our annual outdoor recreation and travel issue, we take a road trip through the West's atomic past and lament the loss of a quiet sanctuary in New Mexico. We look at the economics of recreation and a guerrilla visitor's center for Bears Ears National Monument. We rethink access and design for disabilities in the outdoors, and consider what melting glaciers mean to mountaineering. We report on the loss of quiet, thanks to military overflights. We ask how long-distance running – not to mention walking – can re-familiarize a person with a place. And we think deeply on the currents that define our lives – and the courses of rivers. As we prepare for HCN’s 50th anniversary, read our latest initiative, “On the Road to 50."

Feature

A road trip through New Mexico’s atomic past
A road trip through New Mexico’s atomic past
As nuclear tourism booms in the Land of Enchantment, histories of violence are packaged, sold and consumed.
The transformation of a centuries-old refuge in New Mexico
The transformation of a centuries-old refuge in New Mexico
With 300,000 visitors every year, how can Chimayó’s history be preserved?

Editor's Note

Road trips and the importance of reflection
Road trips and the importance of reflection
In New Mexico, tourism illuminates a violent atomic past and threatens a religious sanctuary.

Current

How recreation boosts the economy
How recreation boosts the economy
From travelers to new residents, outdoor enthusiasts make an impact on the West’s bottom lines.
Bears Ears’ only visitor center isn’t run by the feds
Bears Ears’ only visitor center isn’t run by the feds
With the monument facing stripped-down protections and sky rocketing visitation, a local nonprofit built its own guerrilla visitor center to educate the masses.
Designing for access in outdoor spaces doesn’t mean paving pathways
Designing for access in outdoor spaces doesn’t mean paving pathways
A reckoning with assumptions about who wants to spend time in nature.
Should we be thinking about last ascents, instead of first ones?
Should we be thinking about last ascents, instead of first ones?
Mountaineers confront disappearing glaciers.
The roar of military jets triggers a crusade for quiet
The roar of military jets triggers a crusade for quiet
As ‘Growlers’ shatter the calm of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, a push for quiet grows.

Essays

A runner reimagines his place in a sprawling city
A runner reimagines his place in a sprawling city
And creates new connections from the details.
Photos: The power of climbing harnessed
Photos: The power of climbing harnessed
Brown Girls Climbing addresses trauma and is increasing diversity at the crag.
Currents of consent and control
Currents of consent and control
Like strainers of a river, our memories reshape us from within.
It is solved by walking
It is solved by walking
The path to fixing our broken communities is forged by footsteps.

Heard Around the West

Coyote diets; anaerobic digesters; poachers caught on camera
Coyote diets; anaerobic digesters; poachers caught on camera
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

On the Road to 50: A grand beginning
On the Road to 50: A grand beginning
It’s a dangerous and promising time. HCN seeks to tell the many stories of the West.
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