Magazine
The Next West
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September 1, 2020

In this issue, we celebrate our 50th anniversary with a look at the life and legacy of High Country News’ founder, Tom Bell. We recall the magazine’s 50-year history and consider the West to come. Our feature story focuses on the Southwest, where extreme heat is having a deadly impact on elderly, homeless and low-income residents. Elsewhere, we discover how undocumented workers, ineligible for federal COVID-19 aid, survive and even organize despite the pandemic and economic crisis. We dig into the Trump administration’s environmental policy changes, including the planned “evisceration” of the National Environmental Policy Act, and analyze the Great American Outdoors Act, which boosts support for public lands, but fails to address climate change and fossil fuels. The issue also examines the West’s changing demographics, as energy boomtowns empty out while urbanites flee to rural areas. Finally, we reflect on New Mexico author Rudolfo Anaya's lasting influence and interview Hillary Hoffmann and Monte Mills, whose new book examines the history, future and present-day context of the legal fight to protect Indigenous cultures.

Feature

Extreme heat is here, and it’s deadly
Extreme heat is here, and it’s deadly
Gearing up for the fight against a new climate enemy.
‘Somebody has to keep people on their toes’
‘Somebody has to keep people on their toes’
High Country News’ unlikely and remarkable origin story.

Reportage

Trump’s new NEPA is faster and narrower
Trump’s new NEPA is faster and narrower
Land agencies have less time — and get less public scrutiny — to issue environmental assessments.
Is a big win for conservation a blow to climate action?
Is a big win for conservation a blow to climate action?
As extinction and climate crises loom, the Great American Outdoors Act and recreation industry continue to rely on oil money.
A wildlife refuge under siege at the border
A wildlife refuge under siege at the border
New emails detail drained ponds, salvaged fish and a tense relationship with the Department of Homeland Security.

Editor's Note

Working with readers for a better West
Working with readers for a better West
High Country News turns 50 this year, but we’re already planning for the decades to come.

What Works

The old-school organizers who got it done on Zoom
The old-school organizers who got it done on Zoom
How the country’s oldest organizing group won COVID-19 relief for undocumented immigrants in California.

Facts & Figures

Where people are migrating in, and out of, the West
Where people are migrating in, and out of, the West
While the region continues to grow, migration patterns are in flux.

Essays

The physics of connection and solitude
The physics of connection and solitude
In the middle of a pandemic, a lifetime of lessons from a parent.
Rudolfo Anaya defined the West like no one else
Rudolfo Anaya defined the West like no one else
The writer showed us magic, mystery and where Manifest Destiny failed.
Now that you’ve gone West, young man
Now that you’ve gone West, young man
Toward unlearning Manifest Destiny.

Conversation

The undeniable truths in literature
The undeniable truths in literature
Four Colorado writers discuss empathy, systems of oppression and ‘the moment.’
Tribal nations are decolonizing cultural protection
Tribal nations are decolonizing cultural protection
A new book looks at a ‘third way’ for Indian law.
A little paper with clout
A little paper with clout
How High Country News evolved.

Photo Essay

Marlon’s hustle to survive
Marlon’s hustle to survive
The unforgiving economy left by the pandemic leaves many undocumented people without a safety net.

Review

The failures of U.S. immigration policies
The failures of U.S. immigration policies
Three new books challenge the way we imagine the U.S.-Mexico border.

Heard Around the West

Gone bitten; Target moms; celery phones
Gone bitten; Target moms; celery phones
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

Spread the news,  and take us higher
Spread the news, and take us higher
As we gear up for another 50 years, we’re working to raise $10 million.

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • CROWN OF THE CONTINENT COMMUNITY CONSERVATION SPECIALIST
    THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY is seeking a Community Conservation Specialist, for the Crown of the Continent DEPARTMENT: Conservation CLASSIFICATION: Grade 6 Specialist/Representative (Low of $54K) REPORTS...
  • ASSISTANT FARM DIRECTOR
    About The Organization Building community through fresh vegetables is at the heart of the Sisters-based non-profit, Seed to Table Oregon. Based on a four-acre diversified...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • DYNAMIC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    VARD is seeking an Executive Director to lead a small legal & planning staff dedicated to the health and sustainability of Teton Valley Idaho and...
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR
    Southeast Alaska Conservation is hiring. Visit https://www.seacc.org/about/hiring for info. 907-586-6942 [email protected]
  • FINANCE & GRANTS MANAGER
    The Blackfoot Challenge, located in Ovando, MT, seeks a self-motivated, detail-oriented individual to conduct bookkeeping, financial analysis and reporting, and grant oversight and management. Competitive...
  • WADE LAKE CABINS, CAMERON MT
    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....
  • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, BOOKS, CULTURE AND COMMENTARY (PART-TIME, CONTRACT)
    High Country News is seeking a Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary to assign and edit inquisitive, inspiring, and thought-provoking content for HCN in...
  • STATEWIDE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    ABOUT US Better Wyoming is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes Wyoming residents on behalf of statewide change. Learn more at...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    TwispWorks is a 501(c)3 that promotes economic and cultural vitality in the mountainous Methow Valley, the eastern gateway to North Cascades National Park in Washington...
  • CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATE OR DIRECTOR
    Location: Helena, Montana Type: Permanent, full time after 1-year probationary period. Reports to: Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state...
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Restore Hetch Hetchy, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, seeks experienced development professional to identify and engage individuals and institutions who are inspired to help underwrite...
  • PUBLIC LANDS COUNSEL
    The successful candidate will be the organization's lead counsel on public lands issues, including reviewing federal administrative actions and proposed policy and helping to shape...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR
    Solar Energy International (SEI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit education organization with a mission to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower...
  • TRAINING MANAGER
    This is a full-time position based out of our Paonia office. This position is responsible for organizing all of Solar Energy International's renewable energy trainings....
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!