The Mountain West News Bureau

Left to right: Matt Frank, Digital Editor (Missoula, MT); Rae Bichell, Reporter (Greeley, CO); Nate Hegyi, Reporter (Salt Lake City, UT); Kate Concannon, Managing Editor (Seattle, WA); Noah Glick, Reporter (Reno, NV); Ali Budner, Reporter (Colorado Springs, CO); Maggie Mullen, Reporter (Laramie, WY) and Amanda Peacher, Reporter (Boise, ID).
Credit Matt Bloom / KUNC

The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Our mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Rocky Mountain West.

From land and water management to growth in the expanding West to our unique culture and heritage, we’ll explore the issues that define us and the challenges we face.

Contributing stations include Boise State Public Radio, Wyoming Public MediaKUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission is calling on the National Park Service to cancel its plans to use aerial gunning to remove invasive mountain goats from Grand Teton National Park.

On Wednesday, the commission passed a resolution condemning the plan, writing, "Having government personnel kill mountain goats from helicopters and leaving them to rot and be wasted is unacceptable."

Phil Roeder / Flickr

Mix gelatin, sand and cyanobacteria and what do you get? A solid building material with a low carbon footprint.

NOAA

It was a dry start to the year for some mountain ranges in the region, but recent storms brought most Mountain West snowpack levels back to normal.

 

Herds of mountain goats occupy mountain ranges all around the Mountain West. Not all are native, though, and some of those transplants are causing problems. That's the case in Wyoming's Teton Range.

Colorado State Land Board

Recent data shows that the U.S. had more minable oil and natural gas reserves than ever before.

Back in mid-December, three children were hospitalized with measles after passing through the Denver airport and the emergency department of Children’s Hospital Colorado. The concern was that others might have picked up the disease at those locations. 

Many ranchers are applauding President Donald Trump after he announced an overhaul of the nation’s bedrock environmental law on Thursday. 

Devon Meadowcroft / Penn State

New research shows that you don’t need a big population to foster innovation.

 

At a rally last November in Las Vegas, a reporter noted Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet’s experience leading Denver Public Schools, and asked the presidential candidate, “With your experience in the education area, [how] would you use that experience as president to help the education system?”

It’s an unremarkable question—except for the fact that it was posed by a 12-year-old.

James Abbott-Donnelly / Flickr Creative Commons

A new study casts doubt on the safety of state abortion laws in the Mountain West.

The U.S. military is asking Congress for control over more public land in Nevada, and much of that could come at the expense of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, the largest wildlife refuge outside of Alaska.

That has the state of Nevada, environmentalists and tribes all stepping up to condemn the proposal.

Coalville and West Valley City are the latest Utah communities to commit to transitioning to 100% net-renewable energy use by 2030. There are now 20 local governments participating in the statewide effort.

Over the last five years, the Mountain West as a whole has experienced a spike in population, while at the same time every state in the region saw a decrease in the number of people living in poverty, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A nonprofit conservation group is launching what it says is one of the largest lawsuits ever brought under the Endangered Species Act. 

The first wave of Democratic voters will soon be making their choice for who they think should be the party’s presidential nominee. Nevada is the first state in the West to weigh in. It’s also the most diverse, making the Silver State more of a bellwether than other early voting states.

After a long hiatus, a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s 2017 decision to rescind regulations on hydraulic fracturing on public lands is moving forward. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is scheduled to hear oral arguments in January after prominent conservation groups, including the Sierra Club, filed suit in 2018.

Rae Ellen Bichell / Mountain West New Bureau

Feral pigs cause an estimated $1.5 billion in damage each year, especially to crops. Now concern is mounting they could be at the doorstep in parts of the Mountain West.

The holidays often mean Christmas hams, mulled wine and potato latkes. But in the Mountain West, our food occasionally comes from the forest and not the grocery store. Tom Healy is a hunter living in the small town of Wisdom, Montana. This holiday season, he tried a gamey twist on traditional, eastern European cabbage rolls, called halupkis. Check out his recipe below. 

An extraordinary discovery in the backyard of Colorado Springs has created a window into an evolutionary period we previously knew very little about.

Around this time of year, it’s not too hard to find a holiday train ride in the Mountain West, from the North Pole Express in Heber City, Utah to the Santa Express in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho.

To get a sense of how it all works, I visit Carson City, Nev. to take a look at the different options.

A group of chemicals called PFAS are common in firefighting foams, as well as household products like rain jackets, pizza boxes and non-stick pots and pans. They've been in use since the 1940s and have come to be known as "forever chemicals" because they persist in the environment.

PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have made their way into watersheds around the world, and as a recent study found, even into raindrops. Some are considered a threat to human health. 

Researchers including Jens Blotevogel, an environmental engineer at Colorado State University, are studying ways to get rid of the compounds. 

Thomas Hawk / Flickr Creative Commons

As we get ready to chow down on holiday foods over the next couple of weeks, a new study has some grim news. It projects half of Americans will be obese and a quarter will be severely obese in the next decade.

While the prevalence of obesity isn’t projected to be as high in the Mountain West as in other parts of the country, the Harvard study suggests that no state will have an obesity rate less than 35% over the next few years. 

Madelyn Beck / The Mountain West News Bureau

Epi’s is a Basque restaurant in Meridian Idaho, just west of Boise. In mid-morning, things are still pretty quiet, but owner Eric McFarland and a few others are prepping food.

On a recent sunny afternoon, I'm loading up my Subaru before heading out to the Snowy Range Mountains in southern Wyoming to cut down a Christmas tree.

You have to be looking for Juan Pablo Mijares’s violin shop to find it. The storefront is tucked deep behind an alleyway in downtown Colorado Springs. Small details make the place feel decidedly old world, from the carved wooden sign above the entrance to the plink of violin strings that serve as door chimes. On a recent visit to Mijares’s shop, he says some of his customers declare the place is even otherworldly.

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