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.


Montana’s only congressman sells public lands short
Montana’s only congressman sells public lands short
Recreation-based businesses like canoe guiding rely on continued protection for national monuments.
Killer bees are calming down
Killer bees are calming down
The gentling of “Africanized” bees in Mexico bodes well for beekeeping in the southern U.S.
Natural gas wells make poor neighbors
Natural gas wells make poor neighbors
Without a rule to prevent waste, living close to industry is difficult and dangerous.
Beware the privatization of your town’s water
Beware the privatization of your town’s water
People often assume private providers will be cheaper and more efficient; often the opposite is true.
Bail out coal communities, not coal executives
Bail out coal communities, not coal executives
The good times are over for the coal industry. It’s time to move on.
Republican politicians should support the outdoor industry
Republican politicians should support the outdoor industry
Public lands should be conserved — not exploited for short-term gain.
We can’t lose the wild to save the domestic
We can’t lose the wild to save the domestic
A few months ago, a coyote ate one of our cats. But I would never kill it for revenge.
The business of climate change, in market terms
The business of climate change, in market terms
Climate change solutions are socially and politically divisive, but they needn’t be.
What to plant as spring approaches
What to plant as spring approaches
It’s time to peruse seed catalogues and plan for the gardening months of summer.
What Westerners take for granted
What Westerners take for granted
“I never really considered the concept of public lands until I moved to Iowa.”
A corporate takeover of legal weed looms in California
A corporate takeover of legal weed looms in California
Thousands of small-scale marijuana growers could be replaced by Big Ag.
No one needs an AR-15
No one needs an AR-15
Mental illness exists everywhere in the world, of course, but mass shootings do not.
Don’t give up on riding the rails
Don’t give up on riding the rails
A writer muses on a recent loss of confidence in the West’s rail system.
A Western town says ‘no’ to guns in schools
A Western town says ‘no’ to guns in schools
School shootings raise a question that once seemed settled in Mancos, Colorado.
Policies affect people, we affect policies
Policies affect people, we affect policies
President Donald Trump’s reversals of decades of immigration policy bring families to the brink of exile.
Protected lands generate big-time revenue
Protected lands generate big-time revenue
In Alaska, sustainable recreation dollars help advocates for protected areas.
Art and education fuel young public lands advocates
Art and education fuel young public lands advocates
At University of Montana, students foster a conservation vision for the future.
Animals’ advice for surviving trying times
Animals’ advice for surviving trying times
Are you the political equivalent of an armadillo, ant or tiger?
To save our oceans, let’s start with our rivers
To save our oceans, let’s start with our rivers
Dams and pollution affect rivers across the West, to the detriment of our oceans.
The power of fossil fuels is fading
The power of fossil fuels is fading
Will Western states react in time to save local economies?
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