Writers on the Range


Writers on the Range is opinion from the ground up. Got a beef with beef? An experience that changed your mind about the American West? Writers from the region tell their story in 750 words. Op eds are syndicated to 50-plus papers, and they also appear here, on the HCN website. For more information, contact Writers on the Range editor, Betsy Marston: betsym at hcn.org.


‘Organic’ litter is not copacetic
‘Organic’ litter is not copacetic
Even orange peels be damned — don’t toss your food on the trail.
Idaho’s economy depends on ‘foreign-born’ workers
Idaho’s economy depends on ‘foreign-born’ workers
Immigration raids threaten the $10 billion dairy industry in the Gem State.
Factory farms can lead to industrial-sized problems
Factory farms can lead to industrial-sized problems
A ‘livestock-friendly’ industry has massive problems, from groundwater contamination to greenhouse gas emissions.
Zinke is letting corporations profit off our national parks
Zinke is letting corporations profit off our national parks
A company is cashing in on prized public lands by fleecing American taxpayers.
We should all be more like ‘the bluebird man’
We should all be more like ‘the bluebird man’
Meet Al Larsen, a citizen scientist with decades of meticulous records of the West’s bluebirds.
Paddling the Colorado’s headwaters reveals a wrung-out river
Paddling the Colorado’s headwaters reveals a wrung-out river
Shrinking snowpacks and low waterways will affect everyone from tourists to farmers.
President Trump is sacrificing our public lands legacy
President Trump is sacrificing our public lands legacy
From reversing mitigation policies to opening our public lands to oil and gas drilling, the insults keep mounting.
Orcas need more than sympathy and prayers
Orcas need more than sympathy and prayers
Will our citizens muster the political will needed to save killer whales and the chinook that sustain them?
Domestic horses deserve care and respect, not neglect
Domestic horses deserve care and respect, not neglect
In Ashland, Oregon, an equine sanctuary fills the gap left by irresponsible owners.
Rural railroads are more important than your new trails
Rural railroads are more important than your new trails
Converting rails to trails can hurt economies and make it harder to battle blazes.
‘No trespassing’ laws create personal playgrounds for the wealthy
‘No trespassing’ laws create personal playgrounds for the wealthy
Westerners must fight for the right to roam in the age of ‘stand your ground’ laws.
To protect a forest, a town agreed to leave it alone
To protect a forest, a town agreed to leave it alone
With wildfires looming, Flagstaff came together to support national forest closures.
Mountain bikes shouldn’t be banned from wild landscapes
Mountain bikes shouldn’t be banned from wild landscapes
Conservationists, cyclists and other wilderness visitors all value public lands.
Military jets shouldn’t shatter the peace of public lands
Military jets shouldn’t shatter the peace of public lands
The piercing sounds of war training assault visitors to Olympic National Park.
Farmers should stand up for the immigrants they depend on
Farmers should stand up for the immigrants they depend on
A farmer recognizes the ways undocumented workers sustain his community.
A bird’s eye view of wildfire
A bird’s eye view of wildfire
Ecologically important blazes are a crucial part of Western landscapes.
Hunters and anglers need to get the lead out
Hunters and anglers need to get the lead out
Lead ammunition and fishing gear poison ecosystems — and dinner tables.
This farm bill deregulates the rich and polices the poor
This farm bill deregulates the rich and polices the poor
A former farmer calls the legislation an attack on family farms and the environment.
Utilities should dump coal to lower power bills
Utilities should dump coal to lower power bills
Coal-fired plants are more expensive than renewable alternatives like wind power.
This year’s burn bans are crucial in parched Colorado
This year’s burn bans are crucial in parched Colorado
Another dry summer sparks memories of past wildfires — and worries for the future.
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