State of Change

In small towns in New Mexico and the West, life is changing quickly. More young people are moving away from rural places than into them. Some New Mexico communities are trying to escape generations-long boom-and-bust cycles, while others struggle to retain their identity in an economy flooded with tourists and newcomers. Internet connections that could power remote businesses in rural places lag behind urban centers.

New Mexico, along with the rest of the rural West, is in a state of change. Over the past year, a group of New Mexico news organizations investigated the challenges to building resilient rural communities, and found a lack of high speed internet holds communities back. Now, they bring you stories about the complex barriers to launching internet connections in most rural areas, and show you the tribes, towns and schools who are doing it better. This project is supported by High Country News and the Solutions Journalism Network, and is funded by the LOR Foundation.

Competition fosters computer skills in New Mexico schools
Competition fosters computer skills in New Mexico schools
Rural students learn how to code by participating in a supercomputing challenge.
The New Mexico towns where less connectivity is more
The New Mexico towns where less connectivity is more
Communities are embracing faster internet but rejecting better cellphone reception.
Tribes lead the way for faster internet access in New Mexico
Tribes lead the way for faster internet access in New Mexico
Across sovereign governments, a group of Southwest tribes prepares to launch their own network.
How a rural electric co-op connected a community
How a rural electric co-op connected a community
By expanding into broadband, Kit Carson Co-op provides high-speed internet to thousands.
Small towns look for a road forward, paved with fiber-optic
Small towns look for a road forward, paved with fiber-optic
A group of New Mexico newsrooms examines the future of broadband access in rural communities.
In small towns, a way to make remote work, work
In small towns, a way to make remote work, work
A ‘micro’ economic development program bolsters a community of telecommuters.
Raton tries to rise again
Raton tries to rise again
A former coal mining town takes measured approach to economic recovery.
In the Southwest, a sustainable breed of cattle
In the Southwest, a sustainable breed of cattle
The criollo cow can thrive in hot, dry conditions that are difficult for other breeds.
A vision for the Navajo Nation in one farm’s sustainability
A vision for the Navajo Nation in one farm’s sustainability
Local businesses keep jobs and money circulating within their communities.
Navajo small businesses help stabilize booms and busts
Navajo small businesses help stabilize booms and busts
To build a sustained community, the Navajo Nation experiments with entrepreneurs.
From ‘hallway’ to artery, a town rebuilds Main Street
From ‘hallway’ to artery, a town rebuilds Main Street
Booms and busts withered Farmington, New Mexico, but new initiatives could revitalize it.
When federal health care falls short, tribes improvise
When federal health care falls short, tribes improvise
A growing number of tribes manage their own clinics and behavioral programs.
In New Mexico, demographic shifts have helped job growth
In New Mexico, demographic shifts have helped job growth
An influx of immigrants is preventing economic stagnation in the Borderlands.
New Mexico breweries patch the gaps between oil booms
New Mexico breweries patch the gaps between oil booms
Rural towns explore ways to diversify their economies, from tourism to hospitality.
In rural New Mexico, a new brewery creates momentum
In rural New Mexico, a new brewery creates momentum
Truth or Consequences looks for ways to attract a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Infographic: Where in the West young people are moving
Infographic: Where in the West young people are moving
Some counties in the region buck the aging trend.
Why save the small town?
Why save the small town?
Cities may seem inevitable, but rural communities are finding ways to hang on.
Seeking economic health for small towns
Seeking economic health for small towns
A project looks at how communities are faring in rural New Mexico.
High Country News Classifieds
  • OWN YOUR OWN CANYON - 1400 SF STRAW-BALE ECO-HOME ON 80 ACRES - 3 HOURS FROM L.A.
    1400 sf of habitable space in a custom-designed eco-home created and completed by a published L.A. architect in 1997-99. Nestled within its own 80-acre mountain...
  • WYOMING CONSERVATION ASSOCIATE
    We are hiring a Wyoming Conservation Associate Full time, competitive pay and benefits. Location: Cody, WY (preferred), Jackson, WY, or Lander, WY Visit www.greateryellowstone.org/careers for...
  • SOUTHWEST REGIONAL DIRECTOR
    The National Parks Conservation Association, the nations leading national park advocacy organization, seeks a Regional Director to lead and manage staff for the Southwest Regional...
  • DIRECTOR OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
    This newly created position with The Nature Conservancy's Colorado River Program will play a key role in the development and implementation of strategies to achieve...
  • PROGRAM OFFICER, INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES, NOVO FOUNDATION
    The Foundation NoVo Foundation acts from the original meaning of philanthropy: the love of humanity. The Foundation is dedicated to catalyzing a global social transformation...
  • ARMY OF THE DOG
    A new generation of monkey wrenchers hits the Front Range?
  • ANNIE CLARK TANNER FELLOWSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES
    The Tanner Humanities Center and the Environmental Humanities Program of the University of Utah seek an environmental writer to offer classes in Utahs Environmental Humanities...
  • ALASKA STATE DIRECTOR
    The Wilderness Society works to protect Wildlands and inspire Americans to care for our public lands. We seek to hire a strategic, experienced leader who...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) seeks an individual to lead this 45-year-old organization as executive director, to carry on ICLs work as Idahos leading voice...
  • IDAHO RIVERFRONT:
    2+ acres, 400+ feet on Snake River, 2800 sf residence, NWF-certified wildlife habitat, excellent hunting, fishing, birdwatching, stargazing, sunsets & panoramic views. In the heart...
  • WILDEARTH GUARDIANS IS EXPANDING - THREE JOB OPENINGS
    Guardians is expanding and looking for a few great people to join us in protecting and restoring the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health...
  • SUNNYSIDE MARKET SEEKS NEW PROPRIETOR
    Organic grocery/cafe at Glacier Bay needs a vibrant leader. Love good food, community, and Alaska? Join us!
  • NO INDIVIDUAL HEROES: OURAY MOUNTAIN RESCUE TEAM
    Ouray County, Colorado, a popular tourist destination, has dramatic mountains and amazing winter ice climbing. Challenging terrain and high altitude can push visitors to their...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM ASSOCIATE - TAHOE AREA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Associate-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM COORDINATOR - TAHOE AREA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Coordinator-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM MANAGER - TAHOE AREA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Manager-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM ASSOCIATE, SOUTHERN CA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Associate-Southern CA. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • THE BOOK OF BARLEY -
    Collector's Item! The story of barley, the field crop. 50 years of non-fiction research. www.barleybook.com
  • RIVER TRIP LEADER & EDUCATOR
    Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a growing nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...
  • RIVER GUIDE AND EDUCATOR
    Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a growing nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...