Magazine
The Rough Road Ahead
  • Digital Editions are available for our paid subscribers. Please login here.

  • If you wish to subscribe, click here.

March 1, 2021

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.”

Feature

Did James Plymell need to die?
Did James Plymell need to die?
How homelessness is criminalized in small cities and towns across the West.

Reportage

New Mexico judge revokes protected lands for jaguars
New Mexico judge revokes protected lands for jaguars
Conservation groups vow to fight the ruling to help the cats reclaim their historic habitat.
Nevada lithium mine kicks off a new era of Western extraction
Nevada lithium mine kicks off a new era of Western extraction
The hastily approved project went forward without comment from the Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Tribe.
Despite discrimination and drought, Punjabi Americans farm on
Despite discrimination and drought, Punjabi Americans farm on
As America’s food basket dries out, Punjabi American growers fear the loss of their hard-earned farmlands.
Will the climate crisis tap out the Colorado River?
Will the climate crisis tap out the Colorado River?
Water availability is going from bad to worse in the seven states that rely on the drought-stricken river.
Foreign-born doctors fill physician shortages in the West
Foreign-born doctors fill physician shortages in the West
Some find a permanent home; others languish in a visa holding pattern.
Public land is no longer on sale to oil and gas companies
Public land is no longer on sale to oil and gas companies
President Biden’s leasing pause signals a major shift in federal land policy.

Editor's Note

The big issues facing the West
The big issues facing the West
In midst of the hard news, there’s hope and humanity.

What Works

A rural remedy to health care access
A rural remedy to health care access
A virtual telementoring program helps the West respond to the pandemic.

Facts & Figures

Border barrier boondoggle
Border barrier boondoggle
Trump’s promised inexpensive, impregnable wall was anything but.

Essays

In Nogales, joy endures
In Nogales, joy endures
The Borderlands may be militarized, but for writer Alberto Ríos, it’s still home.

Conversation

Why Utah’s wild mink COVID-19 case matters
Why Utah’s wild mink COVID-19 case matters
‘Vet-virologist’ Anna Fagre discusses the first positive case detected in the wild — and how ‘spillover’ could impact the West.

Perspective

The alternatives to Instagram-ready desert art
The alternatives to Instagram-ready desert art
Popular installations often frame the desert as austere and inhospitable. But there are artists who look at the land differently.

Review

All fracked up: A debut memoir wrestles with toxic masculinity in the oil fields
All fracked up: A debut memoir wrestles with toxic masculinity in the oil fields
Michael Patrick F. Smith’s ‘The Good Hand’ offers sharp observations on North Dakota’s extraction industry.

Heard Around the West

Tired and inspired; wild new world; signs everywhere
Tired and inspired; wild new world; signs everywhere
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

HCN in the 2010s
HCN in the 2010s
The era was defined by Malheur, pipeline protests and the beginning of the Trump presidency.
Our expanding universe
Our expanding universe
New staff, new technology, more readers.

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • FIELD MANAGER
    Organizational Overview: Columbia Riverkeeper (Riverkeeper) is a successful nonprofit organization that unites communities to fight for clean water and our climate. Riverkeeper advances high-profile campaigns...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Forever Our Rivers Foundation is searching for a driven and creative leader to build a movement, conserving and restoring America's rivers by helping customers find...
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    Friends of Cedar Mesa is hiring a Deputy Director/COO who will have the overall responsibilities of general program management, staff management, financial & budget management,...
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT - (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time Customer Service Assistant, based at...
  • RURAL ACREAGE OUTSIDE SILVER CITY, NM
    Country living just minutes from town! 20 acres with great views makes a perfect spot for your custom home. Nice oaks and juniper. Cassie Carver,...
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Communications and Outreach Associate Position Opening: www.westernlaw.org/communications-outreach-associate ************************************************* Location: Western U.S., ideally in one of WELC's existing office locations (Santa Fe or Taos, NM, Helena,...
  • OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR AND BOOKKEEPER
    Posted: July 19, 2021 Application deadline: August 27 or until position is filled. Western Colorado Alliance for Community Action is seeking a fulltime Office Administrator...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Posted: July 15, 2021 Application deadline: August 21, 2021 or until position is filled Western Colorado Alliance for Community Action is seeking three full time...
  • A FIVE STAR FOREST SETTING WITH SECLUSION AND SEPARATENESS
    This home is for a discerning buyer in search of a forest setting of premier seclusion & separateness. Surrounded on all sides by USFS land...
  • 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...
  • AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT EDITOR
    High Country News (HCN) seeks an audience editor to attract and acquire new audiences and deepen engagement with them - in our newsletters, on our...
  • COMMUNITY MARKETER
    High Country News (HCN) is looking for a Community Marketer to build and strengthen relationships between HCN and other organizations and individuals, with the aim...
  • FINANCE & OPERATIONS MANAGER
    Job Announcement: Finance and Operations Manager Announcement date: July 16, 2021 Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and first review will begin: August...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Job Announcement: Development Director Announcement date: July 16, 2021 Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and first review will begin: August 9, 2021...
  • HECHO POLICY AND ADVOCACY MANAGER
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • HECHO NEW MEXICO SENIOR FIELD COORDINATOR
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • IDAHO STATE DIRECTOR
    The Wilderness Society is seeking a full time Idaho State Director who will preferably be based in Boise, Idaho. This position is part of our...
  • CAUCASIAN OVCHARKA PUPPIES
    Strong loyal companions. Ready to protect your family and property. Proven against wolves and grizzlies. Imported bloodlines. Well socialized.
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    The Nature Conservancy in Alaska is dedicated to saving the lands and waters on which all life depends. For more than 30 years, TNC has...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY, CLIMATE AND ENERGY PROGRAM
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING https://westernlaw.org/career-opportunity-climate-energy-staff-attorney/ ************************************************** Position Title: Climate and Energy Program Staff Attorney Reports to: Climate and Energy Program Director Location: Helena, Montana; other...