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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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Can we live with electric mountain bikes on trails? 

By Molly Absolon

The first time I saw an electric bike — better known as an e-bike — I was struggling up a…

Mountain biker Celeste Young takes a break along the Big Hole Crest Trail in Idaho. 2022 image. Photo courtesy Molly Absolon

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Coming soon, the Apocalypse, maybe

By Pepper Trail

Just about every video game, young adult novel and buzz-worthy streaming series agree that we need to prepare for a…

Photo by Intricate Explorer, Via Unsplash

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Business as usual for the Colorado River

By Dave Marston

It seemed inevitable that the dwindling Colorado River would be divvied up by the federal Bureau of Reclamation. On June…

Winterhaven, CA, Imperial Dam, where 90% of the Colorado River is desilted and sent to numerous irrigation districts in CA and AZ. Courtesy of Bureau of Reclamation

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Never hike without this perfect accompaniment

By Marjorie “Slim” Woodruff

I have long been known to have pet peeves about the debris hikers drop along trails, but one piece of…

Buster babes with a bandana collar

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The Colorado River comes alive even as it ebbs

By Char Miller

The Colorado River is revealing its secrets. For decades a World War II landing craft lay submerged 200 feet beneath…

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Hard choices for the Colorado River

By Quinn Harper Mark Squillace

The seven Colorado River states – Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming – face a daunting mid-August…

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Will salmon finally win this year?

By Rocky Barker

For the last 35 years I’ve been covering what we call the “salmon wars” in the Pacific Northwest, writing so…

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Ditches are a vanishing paradise

By Dave Marston

Annette Choszczyk lives in rural western Colorado these days, but when she was a kid, the Highline Canal in Denver…

Photo of North Fork Valley, Co, courtesy of Kenita Burns Moore

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The “Keystone Pipeline” won’t make gas any cheaper 

By Ted Williams

”A report that the Biden administration is weighing greater imports of Canadian oil is putting a renewed focus on the…

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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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