Our archives

Major Funders:
Foundation for Community Vitality
Greater Montana Foundation
Encouraging communications on issues, trends and values of importance to Montanans.

Mountain West Perspectives
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
The TransPacific Partnership could affect Rocky Mountain States' local measures

Thursday, November 20, 2014
Montana's two-year colleges revamp education to meet changing workplace demands

Thursday, October 16, 2014
Montana releases draft statewide water management plan

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Fifty years after the Wilderness Act became law, it's time again for Capital W Wilderness

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
New report highlights opportunities in the Colorado River Basin

Friday, February 21, 2014
Poll: Conservation an election issue for voters in the West

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
A land-use planner envisions mapping the U.S. using watershed boundaries

Thursday, June 27, 2013
Growing Hispanic population in the West changing the region's demographics, politics

Friday, June 14, 2013
Colorado College's 2013 State of the Rockies Report Card explores "Water Friendly Futures for the Colorado River Basin"

Monday, April 15, 2013
Study uncovers the restoration realities in Montana

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Restoring Montana Ecologically and Economically

Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Study: Health care field will lead job growth in Montana

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Poll: Land protection still a priority for Westerners

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Study tracks Montana's job growth and the Big Sky State's changing workforce

Thursday, November 08, 2012
Ecotourism could help save remaining swaths of America's virgin prairie

Thursday, June 21, 2012
Conflicting perspectives about returning wild bison to areas of Montana where they used to roam aren't mutually exclusive

Friday, June 08, 2012
Headwaters Economics examines role of public lands, natural amenities in West's economy

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Colorado College’s 2012 State of the Rockies Report Card The Colorado River Basin: Youth and the Colorado River Basin: Perspectives and a call to Action

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
How westerners view the region's role in nation's energy future - Survey of 2,400 voters in six Western states share their opinions on energy, the environment, protection of wildlife and habitat

Thursday, January 19, 2012
Deep trouble in Western waters - Efforts stepped up to control lake trout explosions in the West

Friday, December 02, 2011
There are better wind options for Alberta - Dispersed, smaller wind farms built close to customers better than massive wind farms and billion-dollar transmission projects to California

Thursday, June 09, 2011
Land, water, people
New policy report highlights emerging strategies to integrate water and land use planning

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey Thinking like a river basin - A new report examines options, obstacles to mixing Colorado River issues of Rocky Mountain headwaters states' with downstream neighbors'

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Colorado College's 2011 State of the Rockies report Card: Part I examined the Eastern Plains Part II examines the infrastructure that keeps the region moving and powered up and Part III examines the region's emerging recreation-based economy.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Taking the West's pulse: Survey results upend assumptions about Westerners' conservation views

Thursday, January 27, 2011
A new kind of watershed restoration partnership: Engaging the hearts, minds, and wallets of downstream water users to support upstream watershed health

Thursday, December 02, 2010
Montana's underground water problem: Montana's small-well exemption in the state's water law creates big problems

Thursday, October 28, 2010
Crown of the Continent: Roundtable, forum bring stakeholders together to shape the future of the landscape Montana, Alberta, and British Columbia share.

Thursday, October 14, 2010
Montana's water loophole: It's time to close the loophole in Montana water law that allows rural subdivisions to drill any number of exempt wells

Thursday, April 22, 2010
Ranching in the Rockies:West's ranchers adopt new methods, management and compromise to adapt, survive in a changing environment

Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Curbing wildfires' costTen ways to control the rising cost of fighting fires in the wildland-urban interface and to keep people safer

Thursday, November 05, 2009
< href="" target="_blank">Embracing a green economyMaking homes more energy efficient, renewable-energy industries could prove a threefold benefit for Montana, the Northwest

Monday, September 28, 2009
Place-based forest law: Questions, opportunities presented by Montana Sen. Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act

Thursday, August 20, 2009
Searching for the soul of America: Report highlights challenges to National Landscape Conservation System, recommends actions to address those challenges

Thursday, August 06, 2009
Oil shale and its not-so-repetitive past: The Center of the American West probes the West's oil shale resources and the past and future efforts to pull the oil out of its rocky bed

Thursday, June 25, 2009
Building a living: Missoula's homebuilding industry shows signs of life as developers seek new markets, products

Thursday, June 11, 2009
Will our children thank us? The Colorado College State of the Rockies 2009 Symposium and Report Card looks ahead 50 years

Thursday, May 28, 2009
Montana's local food movement: The Montana Food System Council works to advance the growth of a sustainable and self-reliant food system for the Big Sky State

Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Interview with Mark Rey : Martin Nie talks with the former undersecretary of Agriculture about some of the hot-button issues during his tenure in office

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
New Public Lands Agenda: A new report details pressing public-lands issues for the Obama administration, lays out options for action

Thursday, December 11, 2008
Livestock and wolves: Defenders of Wildlife's proactive guide provides ranchers, land managers ways to protect stock and save wolves

Thursday, November 20, 2008
Sustainable change: It's time for sustainable solutions that benefit both the environment and Montana's workers, not more of the same

Thursday, November 06, 2008
Harvesting forests' energy: Forest Guild report provides case studies on 45 biomass projects across the United States

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Mountain Megas: Intermountain West emerges as the economic, political New American Heartland

Thursday, August 14, 2008
WGA on energy, water: As Chairman of the Western Governors' Association, Utah governor lays out agenda on energy and water

Thursday, July 24, 2008
Hotter, drier times ahead: The Clark Fork Coalition crunches the data to bring the impact of global climate change home to Montana's Clark Fork River basin

Thursday, June 12, 2008
Overflow communities: Sonoran Institute's latest publication explores the result of development cascading into Wyoming, Idaho counties from Wyoming's Teton County

Thursday, May 08, 2008
Rating the Rockies: The 2008 State of the Rockies Report Card provides talking points for counties' officials, West's residents, by David Havlick and Christopher B. Jackson of the Colorado College

Thursday, March 20, 2008
Continental Divide Trail: Continental Divide Trail Alliance uses volunteer labor to carve out passage through five Western states one section at a time, by Josh Shusko of the Continental Divide Trail Alliance

Saturday, March 08, 2008
Sea change for West's Water: Climate change, population growth challenge traditional western water policies, by Sarah Bates of Western Progress

Friday, November 16, 2007
Green from the ground up: Dedication, doggedness and an angel donor helped Bozeman reach its goal of building an energy-efficient, environmentally sensitive public library, by Paula Beswick

Thursday, October 04, 2007
From forum to fruition: Montana conference provided fertile ground for sharing ideas, and new projects are sprouting up across the West, by Piper Foster.

Thursday, September 20, 2007
A new road on wildfire management: Rattlesnake Fire shows how much has changed in Idaho national forests' wildfire policy over the past four years, by Bill Boyd.

Thursday, August 16, 2007
Western Growth and its Discontent: New book lays out strategies to direct growth, and save the special qualities of the region, by Tom Kenworthy.

Thursday, July 12, 2007
Appeal to Western Pride: Conspicuous conservers could use their energy-efficient behavior to drive social change, by Patty Limerick from the Center of the American West and Howard Geller of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

Thursday, June 14, 2007
How the West can Save: A new report examines how Westerners' relationship with energy is destined to change, by Patty Limerick and Jason Hanson.

Thursday, May 03, 2007
The West by design: Sonoran Institute's new project showcases what's right with development in the Northern Rockies, by Dennis Glick.

Monday, April 23, 2007
Much ado about Idaho elk: Escaped elk from Idaho game ranch heated up legislative debate, but only one law passed, by Nathaniel Judd Hoffman. March 15, 2007 Watering the West: A new report helps fill in the missing link between land-use and water planning, by Sarah Van de Wetering.

Thursday, March 15, 2007
Watering the West: A new report helps fill in the missing link between land-use and water planning, by Sarah Van de Wetering.

Thursday, February 15, 2007
Agreeing to move forward: Montana coalition of diverse stakeholders work together to create a sustainable, workable plan for a national forest, by Marianne Roose.

Thursday, January 04, 2007
A Watershed Approach: There's a new homegrown democratic process at work in Montana and the West, by Karen Filipovich.

Thursday, December 14, 2006
Peace out: The conflicts between environmentalists, industry and the Forest Service has subsided, but the real work is just beginning, By Char Miller.

Thursday, November 30, 2006
Taking the plunge: Colorado water basins explored research, data tools for regional water decisions, By Bridget Julian.

Thursday, November 09, 2006
Western primary, regional focus: Western states' primary could create some interest in issues important to the region. By Jennifer Robinson.

Thursday, October 26, 2006
Lessons from the Clark Fork: Montana conference explores trends in ecosystem restoration law and policy. Read part I and Part II. By Sarah Van de Wetering.

Thursday, October 12, 2006
From place to space: Idaho Land Use Summit explored avenues to slow development and preserve the state's rural nature By Dennis Murphy.

Thursday, September 14, 2006
A $5 million growth solution: Watch-dog groups could follow comprehensive plans to bridge the disconnect between concept and reality By William Travis.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Good Samaritans: Proposed legislation would clear the way for abandoned mine cleanup efforts in the West by Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona

Thursday, August 10, 2006
Place Matters: Public officials, private parties working in concert can create sustainable communities in the West

Thursday, July 06, 2006
Seeing Montana&rsquos Restoration Economy: Projects big and small help return natural functions to our forests and watersheds and jobs to our communities

Thursday, June 01, 2006
Coal's burning question: New coal technology offers environmental and economic benefits for the West

Thursday, April 27, 2006
Distilling the West: Sopris conference features projects and solutions that are replicable at reasonable cost in communities all over the West.

Thursday, April 13, 2006
Conserving Canada's Bears: Alberta's three-year suspension of its grizzly bear hunt offers a reason for hope.

Thursday, April 06, 2006
A Region that Makes Sense: A preview of the 2006 State of the Rockies Report Card provides a path to a more unified West.

Thursday, February 23, 2006
The West Against Itself – Again? Bipartisan efforts have come up with creative ways to provide revenue for rural counties and schools in the past and can again .

Thursday, January 19, 2006
Money and Politics: Western lawmakers played a role in past political scandals, and were at the vanguard of progressive reforms.

Thursday, December 15, 2005
Primary Progression: Rule changes proposed by a Democratic panel moves the West closer to becoming a player in presidential politics.

Thursday, November 17, 2005
Senate's role is balance: Western senators should lead the way to broaden the focus of Supreme Court nomination hearings.

Thursday, October 27, 2005
Cities in the New West: Urban planning will best determine how the region will grow.

Thursday, October 06, 2005
ESA Reform and the West: Ideologues on both sides of the aisle and the issue may stall any Endangered Species Act reform and the process itself.

Thursday, September 22, 2005
Thinking Like a Region: What lies at the core of the emergence of regionalism in the eight Western states that stretch along the Rocky Mountains.

Thursday, September 08, 2005
Western Primary: In order for Westerners' voices to be heard, Western states must work together to hold a presidential primary in 2008.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Wrangling Water: International water experts and officials gather in Boise to discuss rising demands and decreasing supplies.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Consensual success: Annual report on counties of the Rocky Mountain West finds collaborative effort, prosperity go han0d-in-hand.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Plowing a niche: Three farmers in Montana take very different routes to stay on their land and maintain their livelihoods .

Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Role Reversal: As grizzly bears become increasingly threatened north of the 49th parallel, Canadians look to the U.S. for solutions.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Federal flush fund: Pouring millions of dollars of federal funding into new projects will not solve the water crisis facing the West.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Saving sage grouse: Western officials want to rewrite federal species law based on their success at saving sage grouse habitat.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Making Merc work:When Powell, Wyo., lost its main retail clothing store, residents rolled up their sleeves and opened their own.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Nonprofit clout: Little-known and less appreciated, nonprofit groups are the third-largest source of private jobs in Wyoming.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Local power: Call it collaboration or consensus, a new book explores ways Westerners can get things done with less conflict.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Park deficits: The administration spent more on national parks, but it's not fixing physical facilities or preserving culture.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Endangered Act: The Endangered Species Act needs a better definition, a recognition of balance and incentives for landowners.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Inside Interior: Gale Norton is the current Interior Secretary, confirmed in January 2001 and expected to remain through President George W. Bush's second term.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Forest planning: In the Forest Service's next century, the big goals are ever more complicated by demographics and politics.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Watershed planning: A piecemeal approach to either managing or restoring the Colorado River basin ensures success for neither.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Warming: U.S. policy has vigorously ignored global warming, but the effects on the West and the world aren't waiting.

Thursday, September 30, 2004
Roadless: The proposed roadless rule won't result in less litigation, but it might well let the Bush administration off the hook.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004
NewVoices/NewWest: For the Northern Cheyenne, water is culture and life, and off-reservation coalbed methane development threatens both.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Access or excess: Forest officials will decide where off-roaders can ride, and what the agency, the land and the public can afford.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Drought warning: Agencies have sophisticated and coordinated tools to deal with most natural disasters, except drought.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Wilderness management: Much of the Southwest's de facto wilderness needs work, including with chainsaws, or natural landscapes will disappear.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Government labs: Federal research has vanquished many diseases, and opposition to an upgraded Montana lab doesn't wash

Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Inside Interior: Bruce Babbitt was the architect of some of the most controversial national monument designations and a leader in restoring public lands.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Cost of the scenery: Businesses can't continue to bet the region's beauty will attract workers despite bargain-basement wages

Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Rural towns: Agriculture still drives the economy in Endicott, Wash., but the commuters are coming, with mixed blessings

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Balance of power: A Colorado group's study indicates most of the chronic problems of generating more electricity can be eased with a larger emphasis on renewable sources

Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Water, growth and agriculture: Unrestricted growth and unrelenting drought threaten the future of farms and ranches in the Mountain West.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Growth solutions: Gateway communities are ground zero for the clash between old and new, and for pursuing mutual interests.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Economy: State of the Rockies: Some communities across the region have found ways to leverage the assets of rapid growth to ease the pains.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Growth: It's been five years of conflict, but Durango residents may have found a growth plan that fits their ideals.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Interior: James Watt was President Ronald Reagan's controversial Secretary of the Interior from 1981 to 1983 during the Sagebrush Rebellion.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Interior: John C. Whitaker was Undersecretary of the Interior during some of the key environmental achievements of the century, during the Nixon administration.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Community: Latino influx and influence has long been a factor in the region's culture it's just now getting the attention it's due.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Growth: Everybody wants protection from unbridled growth, but so few are willing to adopt the necessary principles.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004
A West that works: There's a new conservation movement across the West that favors cooperation, not conflict, to restore the land.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Environment and politics: The Bush administration's eagerness to give away public resources is too much for some party faithful. January 21, 2004 Tribes: Both tribal and local economies would reap the rewards if reservation land and revenue were returned to tribes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Lost land:Both reservation and local economies would benefit if the land and the revenue it generates were returned to tribes

Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Inside Interior: Walter J. Hickel: Alaska Gov. Walter J. Hickel was Secretary of the Interior from 1969 to 1970, until Nixon fired him for his outspoken opinions on the Vietnam War.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Grazing : Reformers rallied around a landmark book, but the West has more complicated issues at stake.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Interior: Udall ushered in landmark legislation on wilderness, Alaska lands and scenic rivers under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. November 12, 2003 Media: Growth is the West's biggest issue, but most of the region's daily papers sacrifice coverage for profits. October 29, 2003 Water: Using endangered species to force states to manage their water is the wrong approach to the right goal.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Stories untold: Media: Growth is the West's biggest issue, but most of the region's daily papers sacrifice coverage for profits.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Water Pressure: Using endangered species to force states to manage their water is the wrong approach to the right goal

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Fire policy: It should be obvoius to all by now that doing nothing about fire risks will not preserve the forest's status quo.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Politics: Republicans are losing their grip on the West, by losing touch with its changing constituency.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Predators: The biggest barrier to restoring and maintaining viable populations of large predators is attitude.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Feds' attempt at uniform electricity plan draws heat and sparks across the West.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Federal agencies clash with state commissions over who dictates energy and telecom policies.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003
The Bush administration is intent on running national parks and forests just for the profit.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Noise levels in national parks has both sides yelling about limits on their rights.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003
Subsidized grazing won't keep the West from being subdivided and paved.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003
Indian tribes flex new muscle Interior's McCaleb caught in the grip.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003
Forces of change will create a different region in the not-so-distant future.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002
Legislators across the region to patch gaping budget holes.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002
States need the power to preserve, as well as sell, school trust lands.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002
Montana's growth is placing too many septic tanks too close to too many wells.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002
Ranchers are manipulating their operations out of business better to mimic nature.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002
The LDS Church has multiplied its numbers and spread its faith around the globe.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002
Smugglers, illegal immigrants make Arizona public lands a dangerous place.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002
For a taste of a town's personality, eschew the McArches, order at the cafe.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Despite the myths, Colorado food banks feed mostly working U.S. citizens with kids.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002
Traditional Navajo and Hopi warned against strip mining Black Mesa.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002
A bigger Waterton Park would protect many resources, including quiet reflection.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002
Ranchland provides half of winter range in Wyoming and most of the benefits.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002
Canada's attitudes and political structure ensure cities have to beg for funding.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002
A dose of straight communication would greatly improve forest health.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Good drought management means balancing range health against cash flow.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Zero-cut campaign forces bad ideas, such as Bush's Healthy Forests plan.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002
The way we debate resource issues may guarantee no middle ground.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Study says conservation can double water supplies for drought-stricken cities.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002
Smart Growth isn't working let buyers decide what fits.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Research on U.S. and Canadian nations indicates jobs come with tribal control.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002
Wyoming is the nation's least-populated state, but second homes occupy much of its open space.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002
Drought may pit cities against country, and hasten the demise of ranching.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Idaho groups find it's possible but not easy to reach consensus.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Water can't be used to control growth, but growth has profound effects on water.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002
New Economy ties the West more tightly to national trends, for better or for worse.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Our icons reflect our passion for remembering events as we want.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002
Game farms provide ideal conditions to spread chronic wasting disease.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002
It takes time, practice and awareness to manage a ranch by heeding the land.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002
Greater Denver looks to smart growth to accommodate another million people by 2020.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002
The number of sites, the costs and the need grow, as Bush guts the program.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002
B.C. government can't ignore aboriginal rights, but it's increasingly out of the loop.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002
Montana can't afford to ignore smart growth.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002
Gambling is not a long-term answer to reservation unemployment.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002
Montana's future depends on its students understanding the place in which they live.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002
Campaign to buy ranchers' grazing permits is the way to save public range.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002
Waterton-Glacier is an icon for economic fairness and environmental stability.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002
B.C. Liberals' 'New Era' could be beginning of the end for some ecosystems.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002
Grand Canyon's seeps and springs are fed by irreplaceable ground water.

Wednesday, March 27, 2002
Stewardship contracts give National Forest rangers the latitude to fix the forest.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002
Rural Western economies haven't faded with the timber industry, they've grown on the strength of forest amenities.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002
The guru of intensive grazing says Western ranges will recover better with cattle grazing.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002
The rural West's economic development depends on the value of its amenities.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002
Montana's Rock Creek Mine would undercut wilderness.

Wednesday, February 20, 2002
Collaboration and consensus emerge as new ways to manage public lands.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Utah's newest monument proposal could be a chance to mend political fences.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002
Idaho's newest judge illustrates the rising influence of Hispanics.

Wednesday, January 30, 2002
Forest Service learned little from 30 years of controversy on Montana forest.

Wednesday, January 23, 2002
Economist Tom Power and the West's Post-Cowboy Economy

"Y ou could say this looks like a D-minus report card. To us, this is how it is. We wanted to take a good, hard look and develop a strategy for how to work in that world. We don’t have all the money we’d want. We don’t have all the workforce we’d want. We don’t have the ability to take care of everything the way we’d like. This is the landscape we’re working in. Let’s see how to address this."

George Bain, Forest Service Region 1 director of recreation, lands, minerals, heritage and wilderness, discussing the “Northern Region Sustainable Recreation, Heritage, Wilderness Strategy 2015-2020” report.

- Missoulian

On The Bookshelf
Barbara Theroux provides a preview of coming book attractions for 2016


Mountain West Perspectives
The TransPacific Partnership could affect Rocky Mountain States' local measures


Mountain West Voices
Hear weekly stories from the Rocky Mountain West as gathered by Clay Scott

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West

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The University of Montana