High Country News - Writers on the Range

Changing the world, one person at a time
A young woman realizes she doesn’t belong in a national environmental organization when one of its well-dressed leaders tells her to forget about the simple life, because how a person lives doesn’t really matter.
Two legs good in wilderness, two wheels bad
A mountain biker says allowing bikes like his in wilderness areas would violate the letter and the spirit of the Wilderness Act.
There’s a wilderness niche for mountain biking
If mountain biking were allowed in designated wilderness areas, wilderness would gain a large number of new and committed advocates.
When whiteouts in winter seem like forever
On the road in a snowstorm, time seems to stop, and you sometimes wonder if you will ever get home again.
A dispatch from the New West battleground
The auction and sub-dividing of a neighboring ranch leads the author to fear for the future of her ranching community.
An eco-wacko figures a few things out
It’s about time the anti-environmentalists turned down the rhetoric and took a break from their rude and silly diatribes.
Real men head for Alaska
A visit to Alaska’s Kodiak Island leads the author to feel meek and mild in comparison to the manly men he meets, who battle wolverines in the wildest place in the country.
Snowmobiles are the people’s choice for Yellowstone
The author defends Yellowstone’s snowmobiles as a boon to local economies and the recreational choice of ordinary Americans.
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
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