Essays

In Oregon’s Coast Range, a writer explores identity
In Oregon’s Coast Range, a writer explores identity
A collection of essays ranges through the histories, trees and wildlife of the state.
A celebration of equality and of the land
A celebration of equality and of the land
At a Wyoming wedding, a musician ponders the big questions of life.
How to learn to love a new landscape
How to learn to love a new landscape
A writer trades in the ‘crack-me-open ache of space’ in Colorado for the lushness of western Oregon.
You knew where James McClure stood
Even as McClure stood firm on his values, he tried to work with his adversaries, and for that reason he was effective on many issues.
Wyoming isn't California or Detroit, and thank heaven
Those of us who are still here -- the survivors in the wake of the Bust -- share a bond we may not realize: We have paid a price to be able to remain.
Must the West's air become an opaque shroud?
Most of the region's needs, including protection of its scenic grandeur from regional haze, acid pollution damage to high country lakes and streams, and urban carbon monoxide and particulate pollution, draw little attention in Washington.
Public lands policy is an intellectual wilderness
Once, when America was young, we knew why we had public lands. Now that America is mature, few of us even know we have them.
What happens when trespassing mink meet retreating geese?
The notion of the physical world as a web of interrelationships, of interpenetration and interdependency, is not at all congenial to the theory of property.
Outdoor educators must stop playing it safe
My theories of education begin with the principle that learning derives from life, all of life, as an unending process from birth to death.
The West mourns Abbey's death
Writer Edward Abbey's sudden death on March 14th left the nation's environmental movement and lovers of wild and untrammeled land everywhere stunned and grieving.
If everything else fails, we may behave wisely
The West was saved from the wrath of the energy industry by the genius of a free market, even though that market was far from perfect.
Here's a chance to win back the West's rivers
The war for surface water in the intermountain West will likely be won or lost in battles before a single federal agency -- the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Wallace Stegner: The transcendent Western writer
The geographic removal of Stegner from the inland Western landscape he helps us see says a great deal about the past state of this region. But we do not yet know whether the forces that led him out of the region are artifacts or persisting conditions.
Rangers are dangerous: Do not annoy or feed them
This is a practical survival guide to the national parks, with down-to-earth advice on how to co-exist with park rangers.
Rhythms of the forest
We need to expand our view of time, give natural events more space and look for the heartbeats that keep it all running.
Two Forks will unite Colorado
From the outside, to a casual observer, Two Forks is inexplicable. From the inside, Two Forks is the only solution to the Denver metro area's -- and the West's -- dilemma that existing leadership can conceive of. Understand Two Forks, and understand the West.
It is very early springtime on Mt. St. Helens
Above, there once was a mountain; below, a new one is rising, a jumbled mound of steaming magma. Surrounding it, striped spires of rock shoot 2,000 feet straight up from the bottom of North America's most famous volcano.
What to do in the West when there's nothing to do
Argue with radio preachers. Sing hymns with Jimmy Joe Bobby and his Swinging Salvationeers. Defend secular humanism as a religion. And more ...
Spring in South Dakota
There is a quickening in the land.
The end of multiple use
Although we are now in a transition stage, forces are in motion that will bring to an end the domination of national forests by timber harvesting.
Ruminations on the ecology of wilderness trash
The great wilderness experience, at times, becomes a continuing obsession with inappropriately placed pop-tops, cigarette butts and Jiffy Pop tins. I am hopelessly addicted to collecting wilderness trash.
Not with bangs or whimpers, but with luxuries
"Perfect skipping stones" sold in the Early Winters catalogue provide the strongest single piece of evidence yet that Western civilization is collapsing on itself like a dwarf star.
The next time your radiator boils over, make soup
If your car is as hot as an oven, use it for one. Give a whirl to the newest summer craze -- car cookery.