Features

An unfrozen North
An unfrozen North
The world’s permafrost holds vast stores of carbon. What happens when it thaws?
A tale of two housing crises, rural and urban
A tale of two housing crises, rural and urban
How one Indigenous family is navigating two very different housing problems.
A separatist state of mind
A separatist state of mind
In the era of Trump, rural discontent settles in the state of Jefferson.
Will the Badlands become the first tribal national park?
Will the Badlands become the first tribal national park?
Oglala Lakota leaders hope to transform their bombed-out Badlands and help lift the tribe out of poverty, but it won’t be easy.
How Outward Bound lost, and found, itself
How Outward Bound lost, and found, itself
The original outdoor education school came close to falling apart after consolidating into a single national school. Now, its newly separate branches are thriving and redefining themselves.
A field program teaches undergrads to think differently about public lands
A field program teaches undergrads to think differently about public lands
Whitman College's Semester in the West and similar programs strive to make students think about resource issues critically and compassionately, and often change their lives in the process.
Oil and gas companies pour money into research universities
Oil and gas companies pour money into research universities
In the midst of the nation’s current oil and gas frenzy and controversies over fracking, energy company contributions to schools are raising questions about academic integrity.
Oil boom spurs a rush on extractive education programs
Oil boom spurs a rush on extractive education programs
As production from unconventional reserves ramps up, students are flooding into university and technical programs supporting oil and gas development.
A mining rush in Canada’s backcountry threatens Alaska salmon
A mining rush in Canada’s backcountry threatens Alaska salmon
Canadian governments back proposals for more than a dozen new mines along salmon-rich rivers that flow to the Alaska coast.
As it goes high-tech, wildlife biology loses its soul
As it goes high-tech, wildlife biology loses its soul
We're learning a lot by monitoring wild animals, but the high tech methods used to track them take some of the mystery out of our relationship with the wild.
A Washington tribe and a timber company wrestle over a forest's future
A Washington tribe and a timber company wrestle over a forest's future
The Port Gamble S'Klallam are protecting their treaty rights to fish and shellfish in Port Gamble Bay, using laws to limit development, much to the frustration of timber company-turned-developer Pope Resources.
Is there a way through the West’s bitter wild horse wars?
Is there a way through the West’s bitter wild horse wars?
Activists push compromise as the controversial federal mustang management program reaches a breaking point, with more horses in captivity than roam the range.
How the Mormon GOP runs Utah with a collectivist touch
How the Mormon GOP runs Utah with a collectivist touch
One of the most conservative states in the nation has built one of the healthiest economies not with purely laissez-faire policies, but with a dose of federal dollars and central planning.
The soul in Suite 100: A ghost story
The soul in Suite 100: A ghost story
The author considers family lore and legends, including a ghost story about her great-grandmother in New Mexico.
The fossil record: How my family found a home in the West
The fossil record: How my family found a home in the West
The Gilman clan didn't go on normal vacations; their fossil-addicted parents trundled them across the West looking for the shells of long-extinct sea creatures.
Vagabond writer Craig Childs on 20,000 years of wanderlust
Vagabond writer Craig Childs on 20,000 years of wanderlust
The author traces the paths of peoples that have wandered the earth for centuries, from Alaska to the Southwest.
Can pallid sturgeon hang on in the overworked Missouri River?
Can pallid sturgeon hang on in the overworked Missouri River?
In the dam-locked Upper Missouri, scientists search for signs that the ancient species hasn't reached the end of its line.
Great Basin scientists unleash new weapons to fight invasive cheatgrass
Great Basin scientists unleash new weapons to fight invasive cheatgrass
A trio of dedicated scientists are testing out cutting-edge ways to finally turn the tide against the Great Basin's cheatgrass invasion, as the weed continues to cause devastating fires.
Who is Denny Rehberg, really?
Who is Denny Rehberg, really?
Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg has exploited his family's long Montana history to get where he is today, but his current campaign for Democrat Jon Tester's Senate seat is raising questions about his record and that history.
Troubled Taos, torn apart by a battle over historic Hispano land grants
Troubled Taos, torn apart by a battle over historic Hispano land grants
A New Mexican town known for its art scene is home to a fractured community, where distrust of Anglo newcomers plays out in a fight over whether ancient deeds give Hispano old-timers a right to land.
The Salt Pond Puzzle: Restoring South San Francisco Bay
The Salt Pond Puzzle: Restoring South San Francisco Bay
The unintended consequences of the most ambitious wetland recovery project on the West Coast -- and the tough choices biologists may face as they try to balance the competing demands of rare species.
Can the outdoor gear industry wield its power for conservation?
Can the outdoor gear industry wield its power for conservation?
Pioneering mountaineer Peter Metcalf built Black Diamond into a successful climbing-gear business when nobody thought it could be done. But his dream of turning the outdoor industry into a force for nature remains tantalizingly elusive.
The Quileute Reservation copes with tourists brought by "Twilight"
The Quileute Reservation copes with tourists brought by "Twilight"
At La Push, Wash., the small but vital Quileute Indian Nation copes with tourists brought by the popular Twilight books and movies.