The ‘wreckreation’ in our Wild Places

Too many people and too much poop. Packrafts are becoming more common in what were once less-traveled areas, as seen here at Youngs Creek in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness. Troy Smith/CC via Flickr Todd Wilkinson/High Country News Mark DeOpsomer of Bozeman, Montana, is a backpacker with lots of miles on his soles. For almost four … Continue reading The ‘wreckreation’ in our Wild Places

Wildland Firefighters are Risking their Mental Health

As climate change lengthens fire seasons, will the government do enough to protect them? ImageCredit: Michael Hansen Mark Betancourt/High Country News An hour or so before dawn in late July 2015, just south of the California-Oregon border, Danny Brown turned off the highway into the Modoc National Forest and headed toward a menacing glow of … Continue reading Wildland Firefighters are Risking their Mental Health

The Mystery of Mountain Lions

Despite decades of research, myth and fear still surround the animals. Image credit: Sarah Gilman/High Country News Sarah Gilman/High Country News Last winter, I went walking on a gray afternoon between storms. Meltwater pattered the snow around the ponderosas. Fog wound through overhanging boughs. My dog, Taiga, strained at her leash. We turned up a ravine, climbing … Continue reading The Mystery of Mountain Lions

Extreme Wildfires are Changing Western Forests

New studies show how high-intensity fires alter flower pollen, soil health and tree growth. Susan Prichard records data while doing research in an area affected by the Carlton Complex fire near Twisp, Washington. Her team’s research found that tree thinning and prescribed burns can help mature trees survive even extremely big and hot fires. David … Continue reading Extreme Wildfires are Changing Western Forests