High Country News - Writers on the Range

Yellowstone should keep out polluting and intrusive snowmobiles
Teddy Roosevelt, who dedicated Yellowstone’s stone entrance archway 100 years ago, would be horrified at the prospect of the park he loved opening its arms to snowmobile traffic.
Life on the border, where education gets lost
A young teacher’s first months at an impoverished, "under-performing" school on Arizona’s Tohomo O’odham Reservation are a difficult lesson in what it is like to try to survive in a war zone.
A Christmas tradition pueblo-style
The writer treasures a lifetime of Christmas visits with silversmith Vidal Aragon and his family at Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico.
Public servants may go the way of the dodo
The Bush administration’s plan to privatize federal jobs may be good for business, but bad for the environment and for workers.
Running Green is a learning experience
An unsuccessful run for the Montana state Legislature turns into an educational experience for the Green Party candidate.
Medical use of marijuana is a states’ rights issue
Throughout the West, there’s a slow and steady surge toward the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes.
Some lessons about coyotes stick in your mind
The government agencies that use M-44s to kill coyotes claim that the cyanide causes a quick and painless death, but a rancher’s experience indicates that the truth is tragically different.
The view from ground zero at Oregon’s biggest fire in 100 years
The Biscuit Fire, Oregon’s largest in 100 years, was said to have devastated most of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, but a backpacking trip leads the author to believe that the land is more resilient than people think.
Ranchers in the West should call it quits
The writer says books like Ranching West of the 100th Meridian promote the false idea that Westerners must choose between condos and cows in a landscape never meant for cattle grazing.
Why I'm thankful this Thanksgiving
The things I am thankful for this week are still there: family, health, work, life in the rural West. But I have to scratch beneath world events to find them. I can no longer live as if my well-being depended only on me.
Surprise: Conservation counted in the last election
To many people who care about the West's publicly owned lands, the Nov. 5 election results fell somewhere between disastrous and catastrophic.
A message to environmentalists from a wildlife biologist
I should confess up-front that. although I'm an environmentalist and a wildlife biologist at a Western university, I admire ranchers. I should further confess that I live on a small piece of property near real ranches-- ones big enough to be home to cattl
My trysts with Miss November
November out West: The spectacle of changing leaves has passed, the hills collecting snow are not yet blanketed in white, and daylight savings brings night time all too soon. It may sound innocent, but the season feels like a cruel and careless mistress t
Mexican workers in our towns want to legitimize their presence
The hour was early, the high desert air was fall-frosty, and the coffee was, well, truly horrible. I'd arrived for my volunteer shift at a Catholic church in the western Colorado town of Delta, and I had a very bad feeling.
Ranchers band together to break a monopoly on marketing
The next thing you might hear is a phone call from that same rancher to his or her congressman asking support for a ban on packer ownership of cattle. Packers are the people at the end of the line of raising a calf; they turn cattle into steaks and hambur
Wild times in the human weed patch
I never knew how wild my corner of the West was until my daughter started playing volleyball. It had nothing to do with volleyball or the way it transforms giggling adolescent girls into snarling competitive animals.
Gardening old-style with my great-uncle Alfred in Seattle
The other day my great-uncle Alfred gave me a handful of the year's green beans, dried and ready for planting next summer. "Give them something high up to grow on," he told me. "They'll grow 7 feet tall."
One big thing I've come to know about hunting
After he shot off his big toe, my dad lost all interest in guns. He lived to fish, but he never took me hunting.
Walking in Portland can be dangerous to your health
Last week another vehicle almost nailed me flat as a coffin. I was alone in a crosswalk in the center of Oregon's most worldly city, Portland. I had been walking uphill and had made it six blocks west of the Willamette River.
Peace of mind is a social contract
When it came time for me to buy a house, I purposely chose the Old Town neighborhood in Pocatello, Idaho, where I live and work.
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