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.

Hidden Story
The Bureau of Reclamation concealed its study of the Montana-Wyoming aqueduct -- a key part of the plan to radically expand coal energy production in the Powder River Basin -- by distorting the Freedom of Information Act.
Rainbow Bridge - an objective summary
The problem of Lake Powell's rising waters entering Rainbow Bridge National Monument are summarized and analyzed from three angles: the political/economic, the legal, and the practical.
Wilderness and Multiple Use
When wilderness is brought up for discussion in private groups or at public meetings, fact and fancy mix in an improbable way. One, of the major fallacies often mentioned is that multiple use and wilderness management are at opposite ends of the management spectrum.
Population growth and America's future
An abridged text from an interim report by the Commission on Population Growth and American Future.
Population growth and America's future
An abridged text of the first interim report by the Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, presented by High Country News under the belief that a national population policy is a prerequisite to solving environmental problems.
Wolf should be game animal
Four hundred years of ignorance were our sole justification for the extermination of the wolf. Today, we have no such excuse, and the wolf must be maligned no more.
'Bigger is better' syndrome exploded
The assumption that growth is good comes as close to being a universally accepted truth as we live by. Yet recently we are beginning to question the "bigger is better" philosophy, and to see that growth may be counter-productive to most of our hopes, goals and aspirations.
Observations on eagles, sheep
A letter to HCN from someone who has observed the nesting and eating habits of golden eagles for several years around Laramie, Wyo.: "I'm not saying that eagles can't or don't kill sheep but the wool is not so far over my eyes that I can't see some mighty big discrepancies."
Wilderness exists in name only
There are 53 million acres of federal lands which qualify as potential wilderness areas under the 1964 Wilderness Act. But so far, with only three years left for federal agencies to propose wilderness under the act, only 10.1 million acres have been set aside as wilderness.
Environment: beyond easy answers
If improvement of the environment is actually the high national priority that recent polls suggest, then we should expect to find a general willingness to share the cost. Regrettably, this is not the case.
Ecology, priorities and the Washington State Department of Ecology
A paper presented to the Washington State Ecological Commission, outlining the relevance of the science of ecology to addressing current environmental problems.
America and the environmental crisis
An address by Environmental Protection Agency administrator William Ruckelhaus: "The planet Earth is in trouble. For too long man has regarded nature as a foe to be conquered ..."
The Bolle Statement on clearcutting
Dean of Montana University School of Forestry Arnold Bolle's statement to the Interior Subcommittee about his report, which criticizes Bitterroot National Forest's overriding concern with timber production, its use of uneconomical systems of timber harvesting, and its general disregard for aesthetic and non-timber values.
Hearings hold promise
Excerpts from Oversight Hearings on Management Practices on the Public Lands. "The forthcoming ... hearings offer a crucial opportunity for public scrutiny of the state of management and stewardship of our public lands, especially our national forests."
Does development have to mean destruction?
What happens when unplanned development takes place in an undeveloped environment? Do companies have a conscience when it comes to use of land? The photos displayed here tell a story -- not a pretty story.
Rifle scabbards ... where and how?
Big game hunters who use horses are often faced with a problem -- how to carry their rifle. Rifle scabbards hung on the saddle are a ready answer -- but where are how do you hang the scabbard?
Big dollars destined to leave mark on Alaska
Alaska's oil boom brings big paychecks, but also inflated prices. Nearly everything about Alaska's boom is bigger -- the distances, the physical discomfort, and the appetite for money.
Environmental films catalog
A list and brief review of a couple dozen environmental films, including "Vanishing Redwoods," "The Terrible News," "A New Dawn," and "John Muir's High Sierra."
People of the West are changing attitudes about environment
Throughout the Rocky Mountain region there are demands to take a closer look at industries' impact on the environment.
People move into land planning
The purpose of this article is to describe, in practical terms, how you can influence the future of your community through the planning process.