Essays

Even if Bigfoot isn’t real, we still need him
Even if Bigfoot isn’t real, we still need him
I just spent two years chasing a myth. Why?
Humanity is a liability the natural world can no longer afford
Humanity is a liability the natural world can no longer afford
What a lifetime of observing nature has taught me.
My friend, Doug the fir
My friend, Doug the fir
Conversations in Arizona with a giant coniferous tree.
How you and a bear can survive a chance meeting
When meeting a black bear, friendly or otherwise, it is best simply not to move ...
Where neighbor is a verb
Minutiae matters in rural South Dakota.
Death and anarchy above Tucson
A head-on. From the skid marks it looked like the Camaro had been cutting the inside of the curve, way over the double-yellow centerline ...
Politics can't save endangered species
We proudly say that ours is a government of laws, not of men. But there are times when we expect too much of laws and not enough of women and men. This is the case with the failure of the Endangered Species Act.
A father's view of a dam proposal
One weekend in April, I was planning to be on the Colorado River, spending some time in Horsethief and Ruby canyons. Winds and cold temperatures cancelled my plans. Instead I found myself in the office reviewing the" Application for Preliminary Permit" for the Horsethief Canyon Water Power Project.
Echoes from a fire at Beaver Creek
Today I sat in a stand of lodgepole pine trees that met death during the Beaver Creek fire in Grand Teton National Park. Their charred trunks bristled the hillside like quills on the back of a porcupine huddled in self-protection. Unlike people, these trees remain standing after their deaths, sentinels in their own graveyard.
Yellowstone: We must allow it to change
In Yellowstone, managerial control is not love; biology and philosophy, to say nothing of politics, economics, theology and the rest, ought to cooperate to form an ethics that seeks to appreciate, rather than to manipulate.
Yellowstone: The Erotics of Place
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is landscape that loves bison, bear, elk, deer, moose, coyote, wolf, rabbit, badger, marmot, squirrel, swan, crane, eagle, raven, pelican, red-tail, bufflehead, goldeneye, teal, and merganser.
Facing up to the end of the petroleum era
The National Energy Strategy, revealed earlier this year, is not really an energy strategy at all. It is an economic program, aimed toward the short-term benefit of the domestic oil industry and other existing energy corporations.
Dakota dust: denial, delusion, dishonesty
This essay takes as its starting point the blowing dust of March 1988, a virtual dust bowl over the eastern half of the Dakotas.
The perils of illegal action
The more one becomes involved in conscious law-breaking, whether nonviolent civil disobedience or monkeywrenching, the more one needs to be scrupulously deliberate about doing so.
The rural West: a playground for the rich?
A posh development near Santa Fe riles locals.
How to remedy overgrazing
This reader, for one, does not agree with HCN's analysis of why overgrazing has occurred and the proper course for resolving its tragic environmental legacy.
Ickes, Part II: 'So long as I am Secretary ...'
Harold L. Ickes, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Secretary of the Interior, once described himself to a congressional committee as being "as hard-boiled a conservationist as there is in this country."
Metamorphosis at the Forest Service
The Forest Service is becoming experienced in listening to messages it would not have chosen to hear a few years ago.
Ickes, Part I: Interior's noisy reformer
If life were intended to be simple, God would not have invented Harold L. Ickes, Franklin D, Roosevelt's spiky Secretary of the Interior, who was not one man, but several.
Strange tales along the Powwow Highway
We are dying today in droves while liberal Americans profit in the billion-dollar-a-year New Age industry, which sells overpriced and artificial Thunderbird shields and sexy doeskin dresses to bored, rich cosmopolitans.
We must stop devouring the West
We are blessed with an astounding base of natural assets: clean air, good water, open land and the many sturdy folk who live here. But instead of feeding, repairing and taking care of these natural assets, we have been running them down in a way that would destroy any automobile or business in very little time.
Sitting out the Greed Decade in Wyoming
The workers who came to Wyoming in the 1970s to make unmentionable riches throwing chain on oil rigs are now working at minimum wage "service" jobs in the toadying tourism industry.
Forestry newspeak prevents us from seeing the ecosystem
Terminology has a big influence on our way of thinking and the way we perceive issues. It also affects the way we allot funds for public lands.
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