Issues

Storied Landscapes
Storied Landscapes
In our annual Books and Authors special issue we celebrate the storied West. Read an excerpt from George Takei’s memoir on his childhood experience in an internment camp and an excerpt from Beth Piatote’s first short-story collection that delves into family connection. Find author interviews with nature writer Terry Tempest Williams and poet Jake Skeets. We review many books from all corners of the West, dive into essays and provide a list of the season’s best reads.
Where Hunting Still Has Meaning
Where Hunting Still Has Meaning
In this issue we take a deep look at hunting and its meaning for the West. We dive into a Washington-Canada cross-border hunt that also served as strategic attempt to get Canada to recognize a tribe it considers ‘extinct.’ In Alaska, a hunter pursues a mountain goat but gets another adventure entirely. We take a look at cash-strapped states that sell high-priced trophy tags and allow sportsmen to hunt where, when and what they want – to the dismay of some. In Wyoming, a hunting family faces the prospect of chronic wasting disease on their kill. We also check in on the Klamath River, which now has the legal rights of personhood in Yurok tribal court. And we look into a new study that finds antibiotic-resistant bacteria proliferates in coastal waterways.
Severed Ties
Severed Ties
In this issue we examine how Indian boarding schools were at the center of a policy to hold Indigenous children hostage to open the West for settlement. We look at how the collection of data can be fatal for wildlife and travel to California where keeping Indigenous food culture alive risks jail time. Using audio leaked to HCN, we listen to BLM staff confront leadership over their pending headquarters move. In New Mexico, a fading mining town looks to revive itself with Airbnb. We ask what it will take to save Columbia and Snake River salmon and check in on the rebuilding of a 100-year-old boat that became a YouTube star.
"We can either wait on Mother Nature – or we can give it a shot ourselves."
"We can either wait on Mother Nature – or we can give it a shot ourselves."
In this issue we update an ongoing water struggle in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, where ranchers and farmers are in a race to conserve. We check in Montana and the effects of President Trump's trade war with China. We explain the failure of explosive devices against sea lions and highlight the curious deaths of gray whales at sea. We dive into the use of Indigenous struggles by white nationalists and other extremists, and describe the Indigenous narratives of a Maori filmmaker.
In Bad Faith
In Bad Faith
In this issue, we dive deep into relationships of religion and power in Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has enjoyed lax water regulation. In a story from New Mexico, researchers are trying to rebuild the desert’s biocrust. And we report from Oregon, where the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians is reclaiming some of its traditional land – only after a wildfire swept through it. We ask whether boom-bust economies like those in Wyoming can survive the necessary shift away from fossil fuels, and we check in on a mountain goat lift operation in Washington. We ask what it means to be a mom who loves the desert when your daughter loves the Dollar Store. And we review Joe Wilkins' new novel, which is an examination of the myth of mountain masculinity.
2068: The Speculative Journalism Issue
2068: The Speculative Journalism Issue
In this special issue, we venture into the realm of science fiction. Using last year’s Fourth National Climate Assessment as our guide, HCN writers and editors asked what the West would look like in 50 years, and how we would cover it. The result is a range of fictional short stories based on the assessment and other climate research. Through the lens of speculative journalism, we look at agriculture in a rainier Montana; the pursuit of climate criminals in a collapsed United States; unethical conduct around drone cloud-seeding; the potential of a “Fire Service” instead of a “Forest Service”; the misuse of flies to devour human waste on the country’s last ski slopes; and the potential use of virtual reality to help people imagine glaciers past. Taken together, these stories represent myriad futures for the America West under different climate scenarios. They also make a subtle argument for human imagination in helping us grapple with climate change.
From Prison to Fireline
From Prison to Fireline
In this issue, we take a closer look at one of the West’s harshest penal systems, where incarcerated wildfire fighters learn to see themselves anew. And we travel to Vado, New Mexico, where Borderland infrastructure challenges are a major setback. We delve into a labor trafficking case in Colorado and look at what coal’s free fall means for Wyoming. We interview New Mexico Rep. Xochitl Torres Small and explain the shortcomings in the Navy’s environmental review process. A writer takes us into the tyranny of landlords and their lawns, and we look at a fight over wolf management in Alaska, where lawmakers have learned how to undermine citizen-led initiatives. We review a debut story collection by author Kali Fajardo-Anstine and take a peek inside a pocket birding book’s makeover.
A Radical Return
A Radical Return
In this issue, we look at efforts of Bacone College to reclaim its roots as a center for Native art. We delve into the rural anxieties that helped derail Oregon’s climate plan and investigate alleged misconduct in a New Mexico BLM field office. We look at a water skirmish in Utah, efforts by the U.S. Forest Service to limit public comments, and close encounters between humans and bears. We revisit the Columbia River treaty, six decades later, ask when U.S. lawmakers are doing enough to address the crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous women, and ask why the outdoor recreation industry seems so far behind on LGBTQ issues.
Losing Lake Coeur d'Alene
Losing Lake Coeur d'Alene
In this issue, we travel to Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where tribal and state officials grapple with a wicked pollution problem that threatens the lake, its economy and its communities. We check in on the Interior Department, which has named an opponent to the Endangered Species Act as an assistant secretary and quietly continued deployments of rangers to the Borderlands. We also interview a U.S. Fish and Wildlife whistleblower, examine the West’s poor record of regulating “forever chemicals,” and highlight one Colorado rancher's efforts to raise water buffalo. We examine the spread of wildfire in sagebrush country and reveal disparities within two California communities struggling to recover from devastating wildfires. We look at the lingering power of mining laws and into Montana's obsession with vigilantism. We review a new history on the Continental Divide Trail, as well as a film that portrays the struggle of Indigenous women to escape violence.
'None of this happened the way you think it did'
'None of this happened the way you think it did'
In this issue, we delve into a disturbing story from rural Colorado, where bereaved rural residents are helping the FBI investigate a funeral home suspected of illegally selling remains of the deceased. We interview a retired federal biologist on the Interior Department’s current policies; get on the ground with pygmy rabbit researchers; and highlight an ongoing battle between Alaska residents and the military over fishing waters. We report on a new app that could help people find wildfire escape routes, and we check in on a First Nations musician, discuss the state of Indigenous media, and review Stephanie Land’s newest book.
Public Pushback
Public Pushback
In this issue, our feature story dives into a border community’s resistance to arriving militia members. We travel to California, where: immigrants and refugees are modeling small, abundant agriculture; a radio station provides needed outreach to this community; and farmers make the case for capturing greenhouse gases. Other stories look at courts slowing the Trump administration’s “energy dominance” agenda, the energy industry lobbying to boost uranium, and the BLM offering the fire-starting Hammonds new permits to, yes, reduce fire risk. We review a new book that contemplates nature in isolation. And a writer questions the Mormon church’s recent reversal of an anti-queer policy, saying it’s not nearly enough.
Atomic Tourists
Atomic Tourists
In our annual outdoor recreation and travel issue, we take a road trip through the West's atomic past and lament the loss of a quiet sanctuary in New Mexico. We look at the economics of recreation and a guerrilla visitor's center for Bears Ears National Monument. We rethink access and design for disabilities in the outdoors, and consider what melting glaciers mean to mountaineering. We report on the loss of quiet, thanks to military overflights. We ask how long-distance running – not to mention walking – can re-familiarize a person with a place. And we think deeply on the currents that define our lives – and the courses of rivers. As we prepare for HCN’s 50th anniversary, read our latest initiative, “On the Road to 50."
A History of Violence
A History of Violence
In this issue, we take a look at the dark and hidden history of California's missions: the impact the system had on Indigenous peoples there. We also analyze New Mexico's Energy Transition Act, examine shareholder power to curb climate change, highlight Oregonian efforts to watch for oil trains, and investigate the nationwide problem of racism against Native athletes, coaches and fans. We travel to Santa Fe, where schoolchildren learn about inequity the hard way, discuss the important ways trees connect us all, and we revisit the historic cries of “socialism” that rose amid the establishment of public lands.
Scene of the Crime
Scene of the Crime
In this issue, we trace the death of an endangered pupfish that landed a man in prison. We look at ways Western politicians are pushing back against citizen ballot initiatives; the implications of new research indicating that fish feel pain; and the ways in which California’s Karuk tribe is managing for wildfires — whether the law likes it or not. We check in with a Borderlands sheriff who disagrees with the Trump administration’s “emergency,” and question the moral dimensions of a recent mountain lion death in Colorado. We also review a new documentary giving writer M. Scott Momaday a movie worth his talents, and a writer ponders the disastrous differences between the Exxon Valdez spill and the ongoing climate change catastrophe.
Arizona's Wild Horse Paradox
Arizona's Wild Horse Paradox
In this issue, we travel to Arizona, where the West's “wild” horse problem is as enigmatic as ever. We also delve into the bankruptcy of California energy company PG&E following catastrophic wildfires, and we examine questions of intellectual property questions around Indigenous recordings, which were often made and sold without permission. We check in on Utah bees and dive into a complicated conservation arrangement on undeveloped California land. In our essays and reviews, we look back at historic public lands policies; showcase photography from the gay rodeo circuit; and examine racism in language in California's Dixie School District.
El Nuevo Movimiento
El Nuevo Movimiento
In this issue, we examine Chicano movements that are beginning to embrace immigration as an issue, a surprising development spurred by recent national policies. We also analyze a major public-lands bill just passed in Congress; a water grab in Idaho; a crackdown on humanitarian aid along the southern border; and a Portland neighborhood that is already adopting the principles of a Green New Deal. We take a close look at Pinal County, Arizona, where climate change is forcing tough agricultural choices. We also discuss why environmental victories don’t guarantee economic justice, and we explore the surprising challenges faced by women of color when it comes to public lands.
Barriers to Entry
Barriers to Entry
In this issue, we delve into the white supremacist past — and present — of Portland, Oregon. We meet Sam Thompson, a Portland resident who wants city officials to change racist policies that have persisted for decades. We also examine the impacts of the January government shutdown on residents of rural Washington — where federal workers aren’t exactly welcome. We explore an education model on the Mexican border that helps children caught amid family-straining deportation policies. We take an extended trip into the contemporary artwork of a prominent Lakota family, and learn the historical elusiveness of border security.
Nizhoni Girls
Nizhoni Girls
In this issue, we pay homage to image-heavy storytelling, through a short comic that tells the story of a surf rock band in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Indigenous storytelling has long been interested in recording collective history, and here we honor that tradition. In other stories, we dive into divisions over the Green New Deal, how heat hits poorer neighborhoods harder, and why Wyoming's public lands are the least accessible than any other state. Read why you should be eating roadkill, and how Elizabeth Warren’s claims to Native ancestry are damaging to Indigenous communities. And learn how the federal shutdown damaged good science.
What Killed Washington's Carbon Tax?
What Killed Washington's Carbon Tax?
In our first issue of the year, we examine the failure of Washington’s carbon tax as a way to discuss the challenge of climate policy. We also dive into the strange relationship between burrowing owls and agriculture near the Salton Sea; analyze the ways in which hunters and anglers are weighing in on politics; and examine how Indigenous podcasting is taking the “true crime” genre to new levels, allowing it to discuss major issues in new ways.
Good news, bad news
Good news, bad news
Our last issue of 2018 is dedicated to examining the impact of “news deserts” across the West, while highlighting the stubborn media “blooms” that point the way toward a brighter future. Our feature story asks whether journalists can adapt to the changing news ecosystem quickly enough. We also dive into what happens when local news sources dry up, highlight Denver's powerhouse editor and founder of Westword, Patricia Calhoun, and interview an artist on how new Indigenous comics are changing stereotypes and providing identity for kids.
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