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.
A matter between you and the strutting grouse
The quiet sounds of the sage grouse cannot be heard in places where men talk of energy crises, tradeoffs, balance of payments or national commitment. The burden of all this is too much for public servants to bear alone; now you share it.
Life in a heron rookery
Entering a blue heron rookery is like stepping back into prehistoric times with great, reptilian birds.
Gila Wilderness: Pocket of isolation
The Gila Wilderness -- the world's oldest formally protected wilderness area -- is an area of startling contrasts. In the canyons, brilliant red-flowered cacti bloom from crevices in the walls and purple violets flower in the damp maple, alder and oak streamside forests.
The oil shale kingdom
The author recalls a day spent amid the clean air, silence, and wildlife of Colorado's Piceance Basin -- an area slated for oil shale development.
Our future foreclosed?
We cannot forever live off the land. We must begin now to live with the land. We have gained much that is valuable, but we have lost much that is irreplaceable. Only recently have we begun to realize the cost of what has been gained.
A neo-sociobioecological study of the grizzly bear!
I always wanted to do one of those new-fangled scientific studies on something. So, the adventurous side of my psyche asked, "why not do the grizzly bear?"
Upper Snake River is unique
With its beginning on the western slope of the Continental Divide and draining the Teton, Salt River and Wind River Ranges, the Snake River is unique--not so much in its geography, which is spectacular, but in its fishing.
Floating Western rivers
The author floats Idaho's Salmon River -- also called the River of No Return. Part four in a multi-article series about floating the West's rivers.
Backpacking: things to know
The popularity of backpacking has much to do with the desire for fresh miles of mountains, uncluttered by automobile roads ... An overview of backpacks and other equipment, backcountry cooking, and more.
Floating Western rivers
The author floats the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River: "As we would approach a rapid, even a minor one, we would all grow apprehensive ..." Part two in a multi-article series on floating the West's rivers.
Historic kilns mark era of by-gone days
A history of the abandoned kilns located along Idaho State Highway 28 near Birch Creek, where hundreds of woodsmen and kiln workers used to make charcoal for a nearby smelter.
The Gros Ventre Wilderness
Description of a trip to the proposed Gros Ventre Wilderness Area in Wyoming. "The roar of the plunging water provided a perfect tranquilizer for sleep the ensuing two nights."
Steelhead fishing is tough and rugged
Rain, squalls, winds and sometimes snow and cold herald the winter months along the Oregon coast. And once again it's steelhead fishing time, the time of year these great fish come from the ocean on their annual spawning migrations. Part one of a three-part series on steelhead fishing.
Colorado offers varied recreation
Colorado offers plenty of recreation and relaxation to satisfy the active outdoor sportsman or the spectator who want to take it easy.
Horses still roam
I had spotted a large dark animal moving along Paddock Creek which at first appeared to be a buffalo. However, after examining it with binoculars, I quickly saw that it was a horse, and further up the creek were seven more. Not just horses however, but wild horses!
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