Western voices

August 19, 1996

A collection of essays explores the quirky, the mundane and the surreal of our unique West, from coffee-hauling llamas to Navajo tacos and more.


A new breed of artists depicts Montana - cyanide leach fields and all
Contemporary Montana artists create protest art as they try to depict the real Montana.
Of muskrats and mortality
A writer watches muskrats in Utah's Logan Canyon as she tries to come to terms with her father's approaching death.
Searching for grass in a magic valley
A hot summer spent inspecting the dry range in an Idaho valley brings a close encounter with a coyote.
While the vultures circle
The writer describes a summer as a "human mule" surveying the Arizona desert, where only the vultures move in the heat.
Sowing the red suns of August
Even when the tomatoes freeze and the deer trespass, gardening serves its own high purpose.
What is a Navajo taco?
Curiosity leads a writer to research the origins of Taco Time's "Navajo Taco."
Why Juan Valdez doesn't haul coffee beans on a llama
A pack-burro outfitter humorously lambastes the trendy llama.
Wallowing the flies away
The writer and his brother try to cope with a plague of flies in the Wyoming outdoors.
Junkyard Rancher: Automotive wrangler scraps for a living
At his Carbondale, Colo., "Cadillac ranch," Alan Morris recycles automotive junk.


The artist
Montana artist Dana Boussard in her own words on the duty of artists to grapple with the changing West.
Recyclers challenge Big Steel
"Minimills" that recycle steel help the environment - and make money.

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Geology lessons in Grand Teton National Park, 13-year-old Buddhist lama in Wyoming, camouflage lingerie, California theme parks, Moab's sarcastic police blotter, abduction by aliens in Arizona, close encounters with bears and porcupines.

Dear Friends

Dear Friends
Celebration of essayists; visitors; deaths of Seth Diamond and Paul Shepard; corrections.


Yellowstone mine a goner
The Crown Butte Mine Co. agrees to give up its mine project near Yellowstone in exchange for unspecified land elsewhere.
Marvel wins a round
The Idaho Supreme Court rules that the State Land Board erred in granting a grazing lease to a Challis rancher who had been outbid by anti-grazing activist Jon Marvel.
Crane hunt is contested
Idaho approves a sandhill crane hunt to appease farmers who are losing crops to the birds.
New rules seek to cap canyon flights
The Clinton administration's attempt to increase flight-free zones in Grand Canyon upsets air-tour operators and conservationists who say the new rules aren't tough enough.
Dead salmon do more than stink
Studies by fish biologist Bob Bilby highlight the important role that dead salmon play in Northwestern river ecosystems.
A green Republican makes a run
Environmentalist Robin Silver of Phoenix makes a bid for the Republican slot for Arizona's 4th Congressional District.
Strapped parks look for money
National parks feeling the budget squeeze look for corporate financial help.
Yellowstone cutbacks bring out the politicians
Yellowstone Park Superintendent Mike Finley's closure of campgrounds and museums because of budget problems leads to irate responses from Wyoming politicians.
Doomed park bill just a tool of politicos
The strange history of a controversial parks bill demonstrates that Washington politics often have little to do with actual legislation.
Endangered salmon leave rafters dry
Idaho rafting companies challenge a Forest Service plan to keep boats off the upper Salmon River while salmon are spawning.
A tree did it
Two summer power blackouts in the West are caused by wayward trees.
Park Service preys on lake trout
Yellowstone Park begins an open season on the proliferating lake trout, in an attempt to aid threatened cutthroat trout.
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