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An Urban Greenspace Revolution
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July 1, 2021

In our July feature Correspondent Leah Sottile shows how good plans go awry with her feature on how a locally supported rails-to-trails project in Yamhill County, Oregon, got derailed by politics. In Arizona, landscapes sacred to Indigenous people are sacrificed to mine valuable minerals. In California, a rural community has waited years for safe drinking water, while farther north, the drought-stricken Klamath River’s salmon are dying for lack of water. Meanwhile, lockdown-weary Americans are overusing — and often abusing — Western parks and public lands. But it’s not all bad news: Stella Kalinina’s photographs reveal industrial sites being turned into public green spaces. We also interview two women who organize farmworkers, and review “Fireline,” a podcast that takes a fresh take at wildfire, and a book, Lisa Wells’ “Believers,” about people determined to live good lives despite the reality of the climate crisis.

Feature

How a trail in rural Oregon became a target of far-right extremism
How a trail in rural Oregon became a target of far-right extremism
To understand the state’s urban-rural divide, start by looking at Yamhill County’s proposed walking trail.

Reportage

A hallucinogenic toad in peril
A hallucinogenic toad in peril
How a Sonoran Desert species got caught up in the commodification of spiritual awakening.
Mining for lithium, at a cost to Indigenous religions
Mining for lithium, at a cost to Indigenous religions
In western Arizona, the push for EVs threatens the Hualapai Tribe’s religious practices.
Oil and gas behemoth ExxonMobil shaken by shareholders
Oil and gas behemoth ExxonMobil shaken by shareholders
Three new directors appointed to company’s board could steer a transition to renewables.
Ongoing fish kill on the Klamath River is an ‘absolute worst-case scenario’
Ongoing fish kill on the Klamath River is an ‘absolute worst-case scenario’
Unprecedented drought in the Klamath Basin leaves communities wondering how they will make it through the summer.
‘I’m scared of getting sick from the water’
‘I’m scared of getting sick from the water’
Some rural California communities have waited nearly a decade for state regulators to repair their tainted drinking-water systems.

Editor's Note

We are water
We are water
With drought being the new normal, how are we to live?

Facts & Figures

Crowds swarm the public lands
Crowds swarm the public lands
Land managers and gateway communities struggle to keep up.

Conversation

Farmworker organizing in Washington is undoing discriminatory labor policies
Farmworker organizing in Washington is undoing discriminatory labor policies
‘The pandemic elevated the fact that farmworkers are killing themselves to keep our food system intact.’

Photo Essay

Reclaiming LA
Reclaiming LA
Communities in Los Angeles are turning industrial sites into pockets of green.

Review

How to live with fire
How to live with fire
Wildfire needs new narratives. The podcast ‘Fireline’ is a start.
The incarcerated women battling wildfires
The incarcerated women battling wildfires
In ‘Breathing Fire,’ Jaime Lowe uncovers the benefits and drawbacks of California’s inmate fire program.
How will humans live through ecological collapse?
How will humans live through ecological collapse?
In ‘Believers,’ Lisa Wells profiles ordinary people who want to lead less destructive lives.

Heard Around the West

Morning eavesdropping; rivergeddon; condor camping
Morning eavesdropping; rivergeddon; condor camping
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

Bittersweet departures and celebrations
Bittersweet departures and celebrations
We wish a wide-ranging journalist well and give gratitude over our final 50th anniversary event.

Letters

High Country News Classifieds