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Mountain West News

The Mountain West News Bureau is a journalism collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana,  KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

The Interior Department wants to open up a quarter-million acres at national wildlife refuges for hunting and fishing.

The move would impact 21 states. In our region, it would expand hunting at a refuge in Utah  and another in Montana. It would also open Montana’s Swan River refuge to big game hunting for the first time.

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Bikes are off limits in the nation's 100 million acres of wilderness. But a few members of Congress want that to change.

Courtesy/The Nature Conservancy

Conservationists from around the country are opposing congressional legislation to allow a four-lane highway through a desert tortoise preserve in fast-growing southwestern Utah.

Twenty-eight great plains tribes are demanding two different sites in Yellowstone National Park be renamed. The request says Hayden Valley and Mount Doane are offensive because they memorialize a racist and a murderer. But with local government officials opposing the change, it seems unlikely to happen.

The National Park Service has released a report on how sea level rise could impact its sites. The publication was delayed by about a year, and as we’ve reported, there were concerns over possible censorship in earlier drafts.

Maria Caffrey worked for years with the National Park Service researching and writing the report, only to wait for months for its actual release.

A bipartisan group of Colorado lawmakers kicked off an anti-gerrymandering campaign this month. They want to take redistricting decisions out of the hands of state legislators and put it into the hands of twelve voters.

Last weekend, 30 some years of regulars raised a glass to Turner’s Sportsfair, an iconic dive bar and tackle shop on State Street in Boise. Bartender Tammy Wood has worked at Turner's for 35 years. With Boise and many cities across the Mountain West experiencing rapid growth, that means change for some historic neighborhoods and businesses.


Judy Fahys / KUER

Rowdy Muir starting fighting fires on the front lines when he was 27.

Rawpixel/iStockphoto

You’ve probably heard about the GDP or those “best places to live” rankings. The Family Prosperity Index also factors in family life as a measure of well-being. And the latest rankings show Mountain West states doing pretty well.

 

President Trump just dismantled policies requiring federal agencies reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and meet other environmental targets.


Japan is considering hitting back against the U.S. in retaliation for America's steel and aluminum tariffs. A Japanese levy could hurt our region's agricultural industry.

Yellowstone National Park is moving forward with a plan to help create new herds of wild, genetically-pure bison across the country.

Judy Fahys/KUER News

The governors of neighboring Western states shared a stage Tuesday to talk about energy. Utah Republican Gary Herbert and Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper agreed about many issues — until they were asked afterward about the Trump administration. That's when it became clear they have contrasting views on how the federal government is listening to the states.

Wildfire season is ramping up across our region. There are all sorts of people involved in waiting, watching and fighting them -- people you might not expect. We’re profiling some of them in a series, Faces Behind The Fires.

Lyle St. Goddard, 56, is running along a dirt trail on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.  

“It takes me about a lap to loosen up,” he said.

Being a hotshot is a young man’s game.

“I still can do it,” St. Goddard, one of the oldest crew members in the country, said. “I just got to keep in shape. I’ll be okay.”

Judy Fahys/KUER News

The 100 Deadliest Days for car and truck crashes starts Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day. It’s when fatalities spike the tally, leading to more than 1,400 deaths in the Mountain West.

It’s an international agreement but Trump's decision to leave the nuclear deal with Iran could be felt in our region for good and for bad.

The Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan report on Tuesday confirming that Russians hacked U.S. elections in 2016. It outlined what states could do better. It turns out our region is actually not doing too bad a job.


Screenshot/Jordan for Governor Campaign

A record number of Native Americans are running for political office this year nationally and in the Mountain West.

Researchers at Idaho State University said they’ve lost a small amount of weapons-grade plutonium. Federal officials aren’t pleased.

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The country's first free-range parenting law goes into effect in Utah May 8. But people in other states are already warming to the idea.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management

The Trump administration’s plans to cut red tape on environmental projects is getting predictably mixed reviews.

Two Native Americans were pulled out of a college tour this week when a parent told campus police the young men were making her nervous.

Dan Salkeld doesn’t like plunging toilets, filling out tax forms, or clipping his children's toenails. But he loves collecting ticks in Colorado.

In a flurry of lawsuits stretching across the West, conservation groups are accusing the federal government of failing to protect a rare bird: the sage grouse. This week, the groups involved in one of those lawsuits came to a legal truce.

Old Faithful gets all the attention, but a geyser called Steamboat is the world’s tallest active geyser. And it’s acting a little odd.

Screenshot/U.S. Department of the Interior

National parks tourism pumped nearly $36 billion into the U.S. economy last year, and communities just outside the parks benefited the most. That’s where more than 330 million visitors dropped more than $18-billion-dollars and supported 255 thousand jobs.

While Colorado and Utah are prepping for a severe wildfire season this year, Montana, Wyoming and northern Idaho have been counting their lucky stars because all three states had a huge snowpack this season.

“We have the best snowpacks in the country,” said meteorologist Michael Richmond.

When all that snow melts, it’ll keep the forest wet and protected from fire.

However that doesn’t mean the region is free and clear.  Richmond said it may get hotter and drier than usual this summer. A lot of heat and no rain can dry out a forest within a week or two.

Judy Fahys/KUER News

What we know about air pollution and health has roots in the mountain valleys of Utah. Winter smog episodes here are legendary.

The U.S. Interior Department wants to repeal an Obama-era rule that reduces the burning of methane gas on federal lands. The public comment period on that plan ended April 23, 2018 and it looks like almost everybody thought it was a bad idea.


Screenshot/CDC

The nasty strain of E. coli that’s sickening people across the U.S. has turned up in Idaho and Montana, and health officials remain on alert.

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