Writers on the Range


Writers on the Range is opinion from the ground up.


Nevada Test Site protesters hear it in Kazakh
When 2,500 anti-nuclear protesters came here to vex the Nevada Test Site early in January, probably the last thing they expected was a lecture on democracy from their Soviet counterparts in the peace movement.
Gold and grizzlies: a bad combination
In the mountains north of Cooke City and in other national forests surrounding Montana's Absaroka- Beartooth Wilderness, important grizzly hear habitat is being threatened by a "neo-gold rush" -- the recent explosion of hard rock mining on public lands.
Games (non-Native) journalists play
Every day we meet with cultural problems, and the mark of the Indian journalist is that he or she must actively confront these problems.
Montana's wilderness imbroglio: Two views on how to end it
Ken Knudson represented the Montana Wildlands Coalition in the Kootenai and Lolo Accords negotiation; Bryan Erhart represented over 800 mill workers.
Present policy burns trees and money
An array of changes are urgently needed to ensure that the Forest Service is better prepared, that it is more adaptable to variable and unusual conditions, and that large sums of money are not squandered when fighting wildfire.
North Dakota: a Garrison junkie
The Garrison project may be a greater disaster than the Dust Bowl.
The decayed core at the center of rural life
A rural electrification convention symbolizes the forces that vigorous, progressive elements must overcome if the countryside is to move forward again.
The politics of Western water have changed forever
Given their dubious benefits, few dams are likely to stand up well in contests played on level fields. Both the environment and the economy will be better for the struggle.
Edward Abbey got the FBI interested in literature
According to documents made available through Freedom of Information Act, the FBI kept track of Abbey's writing and activities for 20 years, trying to determine whether the controversial author was a security threat to the United States.
Federal agents killed about 250,000 predators in 1987
For more than 60 years, very little has changed inside the federal Animal Damage Control division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Grazing permits are valuable: You can bank on it
With all the fuss made about livestock grazing on public lands in the West, it is surprising to learn that they account for only 2 percent of U.S. livestock grazing. But to the rancher who depends on Western rangelands for pasture, it's a make or break situation.
Ecotage isn't a solution, it's part of the problem
The time for an ambiguous attitude toward ecotage passed with the announcement of the arrests in Arizona and the allegations of a plan to attack the Rocky Flats nuclear arsenal.
Biff! Pow! Bang! Three initiatives lose to big money
Last November, environmental activists waging underfinanced ballon initiative campaigns in South Dakota, Montana and Nebraska took beatings from well-funded experts.
Logging our way to economic poverty
Coos Bay, Ore., is awash in logs, but for the first time since 1936 there's not a single plywood or lumber mill operating in the area. Instead, there are foreign-flagged ships.
How dam opponents developed and refined a strategy
The battle against Two Forks Dam was fought with two strategies, one within and one outside of the EIS process.
Why Denver's concrete proposal got beat
Two Forks Dam is on the verge of veto because the economic currents are flowing against it, and the political currents are following.
What did not happen on the Great Plains
The Bureau of Reclamation's grandiose plans -- laid out in the 1971 North Central Power Study -- to turn parts of Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas into an energy sacrifice area haven't come to pass.
The West is crippled by its resources
Writer Wallace Stegner has a rule of thumb: The more arid a state, the worse its congressional delegation. I have a corollary to that rule: The more a state is "blessed" with natural resources, tile worse off it will be economically, socially and politically.
INEL puts Idaho's political hypocrisy to a rough test
The Idaho National Energy Lab is the biggest blind spot in Idaho politics. Politicians who rail against the evils of big government while pulling every string for INEL projects are faithfully reflecting those who elect them.
Save the forests: Let them burn
There is no getting around this ecological fact of life: Within nearly all forest communities of the Rocky Mountains, fires are essential form maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
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