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.