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The housing crisis is harming my town

By Tim Lydon

In Girdwood, Alaska, we’ll long remember the snowstorm of Dec. 6, just three months ago. But it won’t be for…

Girdwood Valley courtesy of Nathan Searles

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Atmospheric rivers endanger the West

By Dave Marston

Moab, Utah, gets just eight inches of rain per year, yet rainwater flooded John Weisheit’s basement last summer. Extremes are…

Glen Canyon Dam under construction 1960-63, courtesy USBR

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What also counts is where the snow falls

By Dave Marston

This week Writers on the Range explores the possibility of dangerous flooding in the Colorado River Basin. But there’s something…

A girl and her dog sledding at Durango’s off-leash dog park Jan. 20, photo courtesy Dave Marston

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Banning books is for bullies

By Crista Worthy

By Crista V. Worthy Some people have become so alarmed by what children might read in school or in libraries…

Image courtesy of Rediscovered Books, Caldwell, Idaho

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What a long strange trip to kill four dams

By Rocky Barker

Finally, after a 50-year effort, four massive dams on the Klamath River in northern California and Oregon will start coming…

Copco No. 1 dam Photo Credit Michael Wier

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The “energy gap” nobody wants to tussle with

By Dave Marston

Many Western states have declared they will achieve all-renewable electrical goals in just two decades. Call me naïve, but haven’t…

Clouds over a windmill farm near Oakley, Kansas

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Wildlife watching has been getting a free ride

By Kelsey Wellington

There’s a new initiative in Wyoming that’s changing the face of wildlife conservation funding, and it’s already seen huge success…

Elk in pine forests on South Rim of Grand Canyon/courtesy NPS

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Red Flag laws work, but they have to be used

By Brian Sexton

When Colorado passed its Red Flag law, called “Extreme Risk Protection Orders,” in 2019, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder…

Arnav Singhal via Unsplash

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Living with grizzlies as neighbors

By Molly Absolon

When I was working with a Kenyan outdoor instructor in Wyoming’s Wind River Range a couple of decades ago, he…

Grizzly bear seen near B Bar Ranch outside Gardiner, Montana, photo credit: Hank Perry www.naturalrealmpictures.com

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Public land — a true blessing

By Dave Marston

At every Thanksgiving dinner, my family asks everyone around the table to say what they’re grateful for. It puts new…

Green River from White-Rim in Canyonlands National Park near Moab UT Oct.-2022 credit Dave-Marston

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It’s never too late to save a river

By Rebecca Lawton

An old river-running motto says, “Old boaters never die, they just get a little dinghy.” And some never lose their…

Zachary CollierFollow New Melones Lake This section of the Stanislaus River is normally impounded by New Melones Lake. The California drought in 2014 allowed us the opportunity to kayak this famous section of river.

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The fading miracle of migration

By Pepper Trail

For the past few weeks, dozens of turkey vultures have been circling on thermals over my house in Oregon, preparing…

Snow Geese take flight in Oregon, photo by Pepper Trail

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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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