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Writers on the Range
Tuesdays at 10:00 am

Writers on the Range is a Western opinion service, providing content to newspapers across the West. An independent nonprofit, Writers on the Range is dedicated to spurring lively conversation about the West. Each week on KVNF a new short feature, read either by the author or by Editor Betsy Marston.

To find out more, or to sign up for the Writers on the Range newsletter, visitwritersontherange.org If you’ve thought about it, we’ve probably written about it.

Latest Episodes
  • High winds, hail, catastrophic wildfires starting from grass as well as overgrown forests—all add up to a perfect storm causing more expensive premiums for insurance in Colorado, writes Dave Marston. And dry land and higher temperatures add to the risk of wildfire. Western Colorado insurer Kevin Parks has some tips for people looking at where they live in a brand new, defensive way, but it means making some changes. Among other hazards, trees that provide welcome shade might just be way too close to the house.
  • Writer Jacob Richards grew up in Aspen and learned as a kid that if his dentist couldn't afford to live in Aspen— commuting from over 70 miles away— then he hadn't a prayer of living there either. But then he watched as commuter towns became pricey. Richards says Aspen's lesson is that satellite towns sending workers to rich resort towns like Aspen must come together and press hard for worker housing.
  • Ballot box biology is no way to manage cougars, writes hunter Andrew Carpenter, as it's no substitute for evidence-based, state management by wildlife professionals. Hunters help to control over-population of lions, he argues, so they don't run out of resources to survive and then start interacting more with humans. Supporting a ban on hunting bobcats, lions and lynx, which are already protected, is a wrong-headed idea, he concludes.
  • Anti-hunting activists are trying to get a ban on the Colorado ballot this fall that would eliminate trapping and hunting bobcats, lions and even lynx, which are already protected by the state. Though writer Ted Williams is a hunter, he supports a ban because he says bobcats aren't ethically hunted or used for meat, a state requirement. Instead, they are mainly trapped for their fur, which is sold all over the world.
  • Retired businessman Marc Katz bought a chunk of beat-up land on a mesa near the town of Durango, Colorado with the dream of building a bicycle park that might someday host an Olympic training ground. Nine years in the planning hasn't been easy, but what's now taking shape is a huge park that's building in room for many outdoor sports as well as mountain biking. Best of all, there's going to be space left for future, unknown needs.
  • Most states have limits on what methods are permitted to kill wildlife. But in what Wyoming calls its “predator zone,” that’s a whopping 85% of the state, where wolves, coyotes, red foxes, raccoons, porcupines, jack rabbits and stray cats can be killed using any method. Writer Wendy Keefover writes that a recent wolf killing in Wyoming was unusually cruel: A man ran down a wolf on his snowmobile, taped the animal's mouth shut, then paraded the disabled wolf around a bar. Wildlife advocates are angry and want policy changes.
  • Writer-biologist Pepper Trail invites readers to play the Climate Change Game, which asks us whether we will adapt, move, or die. But don't look for a "solve," he warns, as global warming has gone too far to stop its effects. But we can play the game together, he says, and win the right to keep playing; that is, to live. It's our choice.
  • An avalanche last month killed an expert skier who was also an avalanche forecaster in Oregon, though his companion survived. What went wrong? Writer Molly Absolon argues that we need to thoroughly investigate how that and other accidents happened, and why— even if some people say that's blaming the victim. The more we learn, she says, the more skiers can make smart decisions about the danger of avalanche.
  • Bears Ears National Monument was created by President Barack Obama then altered by successors Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Now, says Utah writer Stephen Trimble, a collaborative plan for its management has been entangled in a culture war over who gets to call the shots about the state's magnificent public lands.
  • More than 100 years ago, Rebecca Clarren writes, her great great grandparents and some 30 of their relatives received "free" land in South Dakota under the Homestead Act. The family was Jewish, recently arrived immigrants from Russia, and thrilled to become farmers in America. But as Clarren found out, the land was taken from the Lakota Nation despite treaties giving it to the tribe forever. Now, Clarren and her family have begun paying reparations to the Lakota people.