Magazine
Beyond Illusion
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December 1, 2022

This issue takes us into the Mojave Desert, reminding us that landscapes too often dismissed as wastelands have always been home to Indigenous cultures and complex ecosystems. Our feature profiles artist Kim Stringfellow, who has devoted years to interrogating the desert’s history. We visit other unique landscapes, from the Great Basin’s vanishing sagebrush sea to Montana’s alpine peaks, where a strange pink algae is hastening the already rapid snowmelt. We ask uncomfortable questions: After June’s deluge, will developers rethink plans to build in the Yellowstone River’s floodplain? Is carbon capture really a viable solution to climate change? Will Indigenous nations finally receive their share of the Colorado River? And we explore some human ecosystems, honoring the stories of Diné boarding school survivors and the hidden histories of queer folk; chatting with customers on closing day at a diner in St. George, Utah; resurrecting family traditions with homemade fruitcake and watching a new life is rooted underneath a Wyoming juniper.

Feature

An expedition through Kim Stringfellow’s Mojave
An expedition through Kim Stringfellow’s Mojave
The artist’s transmedia project highlights the vitality of the desert’s many histories.

Reportage

Pink snow is a red flag for the West’s water
Pink snow is a red flag for the West’s water
Researchers are trying to understand what drives snow algal blooms and how they could alter water supplies.
Tribal nations fight for influence on the Colorado River
Tribal nations fight for influence on the Colorado River
Indigenous nations in the basin are making a stand for their water — and upsetting the river’s power structure.
The West is losing 1.3 million acres of sagebrush steppe each year
The West is losing 1.3 million acres of sagebrush steppe each year
A new report aims to advance transforming rangeland conservation across 13 states and 115 million acres.
What’s lost when a family-owned diner closes for good?
What’s lost when a family-owned diner closes for good?
A Southern Utah establishment joins the staggering number of mom-and-pop restaurants shuttering across America.
Rising rivers don’t necessarily follow the lines on a map
Rising rivers don’t necessarily follow the lines on a map
June’s record-breaking flooding in Montana illustrates the importance of risk mapping for people living in the floodplain.
The night the Greyhounds came
The night the Greyhounds came
In northern Arizona and southern Utah, shared experiences of the boarding school round-ups live with survivors to this day.

Editor's Note

Mythbusting in the Mojave
Mythbusting in the Mojave
The vitality in the vast desert.

Facts & Figures

Carbon capture convolution
Carbon capture convolution
A complicated process, explained.

Essays

Making Christmas cake in Compton
Making Christmas cake in Compton
Reviving a family tradition eases holiday grief.
What emerges at low tide
What emerges at low tide
Queer history is all around us, even if it is obscured from sight.
Rooting a new life under a juniper tree
Rooting a new life under a juniper tree
‘Trees know about belonging.’

Poetry

Déélgééd, the Horned Monster
Déélgééd, the Horned Monster
A poem by Tacey M. Atsitty.

Heard Around the West

The road runner problem, hefty squirrels and Halloween Karens
The road runner problem, hefty squirrels and Halloween Karens
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

#iamthewest

‘Desert people are just different; they were born to survive’
‘Desert people are just different; they were born to survive’
#iamthewest: Giving voice to the people that make up communities in the region.

Letters

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