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In Wyoming, tormenting a wolf is not a big deal

By Wendy Keefover

It’s legal in Wyoming to chase coyotes and run over them with snowmobiles, but recently, a man used his snowmobile…

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An invitation to play the climate-change game

By Pepper Trail

Let’s play a game, the climate-change game that every living thing on Earth has no choice but to play, starting…

Dead Horse State Park, Moab, Utah, Andres Haro, Unsplash

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Pepper Trail: There’s so much worth saving

By Jonathan Romeo

For a long time, climate change was largely perceived as a distant threat. But Oregon biologist Pepper Trail, 70, who…

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We need to know avalanches inside and out

By Molly Absolon

There’s a fine line between learning from the mistakes of others and shaming people for their ignorance. Twelve people have…

Image by Will Turner, via Unsplash

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Culture wars and an embattled Utah monument

By Stephen Trimble

Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument rarely leaves the news. The political tussle over this stunning expanse of red rock canyons…

Rainbow over Cheesebox Butte- Highway 95, photo by Stephen Trimble

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We know now that free land wasn’t free

By Rebecca Clarren

There’s a place in South Dakota, about 25 miles north of Wall Drug, that some locals still call “Jew Flats.”…

Badlands National Park, South Dakota, Joshua Hubbard via Unsplash

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Freed wolves move into their old niche

By Clint McKnight

What was it like for 10 captured Oregon wolves when Colorado Parks and Wildlife opened their crates on a December…

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Glen Canyon Dam has created a world of mud

By Dave Marston

When the San Juan River flows out of the San Juan Mountains in Southwestern Colorado, it contributes 15% of Lake…

Calving sediment below Clay Hills, UT San Juan River, courtesy Chad Niehaus

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War comes home to my small town

By Matt Witt

At the coffee shops in Talent, the little Oregon town where I live, the conversation is often about the high…

War is not the answer, Matt Witt photo

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Rosa Parks gives a talk in my small town

By Betsy Marston

It was 2 p.m. on a recent Sunday in the western Colorado town of Paonia, population 1,500, not an ideal…

Rosa Parks, Unseen Histories, Unsplash

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You’re not the boss in wilderness

By John Clayton

When my friends and I encountered the fresh grizzly bear scat, we were deep in Wyoming’s Teton Wilderness, 20 miles…

Buck Lake, Frank Church RIver of no Return Wilderness; Challis Idaho: courtesy USFS

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Collaboration gets you farther than insults

By Ben Long

Is there any habit harder to break than harboring a grudge against an old adversary? Yet burying hatchets is exactly…

Taylor Brandon via Unsplash

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Larmer was the first editor of Writers on the Range after it landed at HCN in 1998, he went on to become publisher/editor of High Country News (HCN) 2003-2020, and is currently senior development director HCN. Larmer is also on the advisory board of Writers on the Range.

Writers on the Range grew out of the West’s public lands, growth, and culture wars of the 1990s. At the time, environmentalists were at loggerheads with the timber, mining, oil and gas and ranching industries that had dominated and shaped land-use and rural communities for decades. 

Meanwhile, a flood of newcomers poured into the region’s urban areas and smaller towns, stressing their social and economic fabrics beyond recognition. How could the West sort through these contentious issues in a civil manner?

The answer was to give voice to a wide range of people from the region itself.  Writers with different backgrounds, espousing new ideas, were put front and center on the region’s opinion pages.

After a brief run as a think tank, Writers on the Range landed on the front porch of High Country News in 1997.  High Country News is the well-known, highly awarded publication that covers the west’s diverse natural and human communities.  It was a perfect match.

Soon dozens of news outlets subscribed.  Over the next 20 years, Writers on the Range published fresh columns from writers and thinkers across the ideological spectrum, provoking thought, generating debate, and defining the possibilities of a better west.

 It was truly a grassroots opinion service and, now as an independent non-profit organization, is still so today.

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