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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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Hats off to a determined woman

By Betsy Marston

Elouise Cobell Day will be celebrated on November 5 in Montana, but many people in the West may not recognize…

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New Mexico court upholds public access

By Reed Benson

Every state in the West has some type of law declaring that its waters belong to the public. But what this…

The Los Alamos and Rio Grande in NM, courtesy of Jonah Saleh via Unsplash

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When no home is affordable, where do you live?

By Dave Marston

It’s a common story: Candace McNatt of Durango, in southern Colorado, kept losing bidding wars to buy a house. She…

Candace McNatt with her dog at Oasis Park in Durango Co. The tiny home part of the park is called, “tiny town”

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She mistook a dog for a wolf—and fired

By Amanda Wight

The story of a Montana woman who recently killed and skinned a domestic dog, then proudly posted photos on her…

Wolf watching at Slough Creek, Yellowstone National Park, courtesy of NPS

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Hiking public lands shouldn’t require a ladder

By Ben Long
Lisa Mcintyre via Unsplash

Imagine you were part owner of a nice piece of rural land, maybe with a trout stream running through it….

Lisa Mcintyre via Unsplash

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Wild horses need to stop ruling the range

By Ted Williams

They are icons of America’s past, symbols of our pioneering spirit. Eyes flashing, nostrils flaring, tails obscured by a cloud…

Donald Giannatti via Unsplash, Wild horses Monument Valley, Utah

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Wild horses deserve a home in the west 

By Scott Beckstead

I live in a rural county heavily dependent on ranching and agriculture, and though I often hear people talk about…

Wild horse 5939 available for adoption/courtesy BLM

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Building strong communities could be a team sport

By Matt Witt

I got to thinking about some of my small-town neighbors when I read that the Denver Broncos football team, which…

This Walmart replaced the shuttered Walmart in Talen, OR, where writer Matt Witt is from

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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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