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.


Confederate monuments are glorifications of inequality
Confederate monuments are glorifications of inequality
A memorial comes down in Montana at the urging of American Indian leaders.
Close encounters with a scary fire season
Close encounters with a scary fire season
As wildfires have ripped through the West, take stock of what climate change has wrought.
The term ‘climate change’ isn’t working anymore
The term ‘climate change’ isn’t working anymore
What’s in a name when it comes to the global climate crisis?
Invasion of the butt flickers
Invasion of the butt flickers
When tourists toss their spent cigarettes at the Grand Canyon, I’m the one who picks them up.
All health care is socialism
All health care is socialism
You can’t treat it as a supply-and-demand economy; nobody ever chooses to get sick.
The actuality of the path of totality
The actuality of the path of totality
What it feels like when the world goes cold and dark.
Hey hunters, don’t vote against protecting public lands
Hey hunters, don’t vote against protecting public lands
Hunting and angling groups said Trump would represent their interests — but they were wrong.
How many golf trips is public funding for the arts worth?
How many golf trips is public funding for the arts worth?
Consider the saguaro cactus — and celebrate it with your tax dollars.
Gutting regulations damages democracy
Gutting regulations damages democracy
Shutting the public out of natural resource rule-making is bad for the environment — and the country.
What I learned from Iraqi and Kurdish students in Montana
What I learned from Iraqi and Kurdish students in Montana
Seeing encounters between foreign students and rural Westerners was eye opening.
Under new Interior Department plan, sage grouse will suffer
Under new Interior Department plan, sage grouse will suffer
New policies will prioritize oil and gas leasing over habitat.
Why I obsess about the names of plants and animals
Why I obsess about the names of plants and animals
Naming things makes individuals out of a landscape of birds, trees and bumblebees.
Why Montana shouldn’t hurry to hunt its recovering grizzlies
Why Montana shouldn’t hurry to hunt its recovering grizzlies
What’s the hurry? That’s how mistakes get made.
What would the rural West do without volunteer firefighters?
What would the rural West do without volunteer firefighters?
Small-town firefighters are often first responders to some of the biggest blazes.
No, God won’t take care of climate change
No, God won’t take care of climate change
Conservationists and religious folk need to find harmony for a healthy planet.
Who needs a camper when you could be cold and hungry?
Who needs a camper when you could be cold and hungry?
Why I’ll always choose camping in the wild over a luxury motorhome.
The political right and left are stuck in polarizing myths
The political right and left are stuck in polarizing myths
Neighbors in a small Colorado town are splintered, but neither are correct.
Death and dying are different in the West
Death and dying are different in the West
The rugged individualist mentality of the region extends to medical aid in dying.
Don’t let this uranium mill repeat history
Don’t let this uranium mill repeat history
The White Mesa Mill’s license is up for renewal under the Trump administration.
We can still ease back from worst-case climate scenarios
We can still ease back from worst-case climate scenarios
A colossal iceberg breaks off Antarctica, foreshadowing a daunting future climate.
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