Essays

The hidden fires
The hidden fires
Keeping honest about what we burn and why.
The time of the Indigenous critic has arrived
The time of the Indigenous critic has arrived
Now that the industry is finally greenlighting Indigenous films and TV, Indigenous critics ought to lead the conversation.
The public lands that kept us sane
The public lands that kept us sane
In honor of National Public Lands Day, High Country News staff reflect on access to spaces across the West.
How wildlife sightings create community
How wildlife sightings create community
What we share and what we keep quiet in small mountain towns.
Anxiety and hope in wildfire-prone Oregon
Anxiety and hope in wildfire-prone Oregon
How might we live in the reality of our climate?
A new Conservation Corps for the climate
A new Conservation Corps for the climate
What it means to contribute to the future of a place.
The fires that follow us
The fires that follow us
A hiker copes with a new anxiety brought by a changed climate.
Rewilding is a two-way street
Rewilding is a two-way street
A letter from your neighborhood deer.
Is there really freedom in the outdoors?
Is there really freedom in the outdoors?
After a year indoors, a writer remembers the joy — and pressures — of a childhood spent in Utah.
What makes a whimbrel?
What makes a whimbrel?
A writer reflects on natural cycles of absence and abundance, loss and love.
In Nogales, joy endures
In Nogales, joy endures
The Borderlands may be militarized, but for writer Alberto Ríos, it’s still home.
The lessons on storytelling that William Kittredge taught
The lessons on storytelling that William Kittredge taught
The beloved teacher and writer was preoccupied with the particular.
Studying seabirds, the sentinels of the ocean
Studying seabirds, the sentinels of the ocean
Perspective from one of the longest, largest and most comprehensive seabird monitoring efforts in the world.
Through wildland firefighting, finding a space to heal
Through wildland firefighting, finding a space to heal
A grieving daughter encounters solace in an unexpected place.
Of hawks and hope
Of hawks and hope
In a climate collapse, a wildlife biologist turns from sadness to action.
How an intimate burial can make death human-sized
How an intimate burial can make death human-sized
In burying a stranger, a writer learns that dying can be as small and personal as life.
Hunting for myself in the high Montana sagebrush
Hunting for myself in the high Montana sagebrush
A hunter celebrates a new vision of queerness and rural culture.
Inhospitable, remote and compelling: The island swallowed by nowhere
Inhospitable, remote and compelling: The island swallowed by nowhere
Alaska’s St. Matthew Island has had its share of human visitors, but none can remain long.
COVID-era lessons from homeschool
COVID-era lessons from homeschool
Don’t be terrified. Be ready.
When home is next to an oil refinery
When home is next to an oil refinery
All I knew about Wilmington, California, was poverty, so I long hid my connection to it.
Now that you’ve gone West, young man
Now that you’ve gone West, young man
Toward unlearning Manifest Destiny.
The physics of connection and solitude
The physics of connection and solitude
In the middle of a pandemic, a lifetime of lessons from a parent.
Who’s looking out for elders on the Navajo Nation?
Who’s looking out for elders on the Navajo Nation?
A reporter documents lack of food and harsh conditions for many Diné elderly, and few willing to take responsibility.
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