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It may not come as a surprise that many Native Americans living on mostly poor, remote reservations in the American West have come to rely heavily on payday loan companies offering cash at high interest rates when money is tight. Yet as Jonathan Thompson reveals in the current issue of High Country News, some tribes have also started getting into the payday lending business themselves, often by partnering with private companies and shielding them from state financial rules.
For this episode of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's collaboration with the magazine, Nelson Harvey asked Thompson whether these tribes could be mortgaging their futures in exchange for quick cash.
In its quest to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, the U.S. Border Patrol is running roughshod over huge swaths of desert wilderness with complete immunity from U.S. environmental laws. That's what Ray Ring, a senior editor for High Country News, discovered on a recent reporting trip to the border. For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's collaboration with the magazine, Ring told Nelson Harvey about the tremendous environmental price we're paying at the border, and why it's tough to quantify what we're getting in return.
From Yosemite to Glacier National Park to the Harriet Tubman National Monument in Maryland, the 400 parks that make up the U.S. National Park system are supposed to be the shared heritage of all Americans. Yet as Jodi Peterson reports in the current issue of High Country News, the vast majority of people who visit national parks or work in the system are white. For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's collaboration with High Country News, Nelson Harvey spoke with Peterson about the National Park Service's diversity problem.
Sometimes when you set off across the west in search of adventure, you find a bit more than you bargained for. The annual travel issue of High Country News is out this week, and to mark the occasion the magazine held a "Western Travel Horror Story" contest that prompted more than 50 readers to submit stories about trips in the west that went terribly—and hilariously—wrong.
For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's collaboration with High Country News, KDNK's Nelson Harvey had three readers tell him their stories. He spoke to Will Toor about getting stripped of his dignity on a hitchhiking trip, to Sheyna Maytum about breaking down in the desert, and to Bruce Drogsvold about a tow truck driver who will live in infamy. Here are their stories.
California's 38 million residents need energy, and since they don't want it from coal plants, communities in the West are trying to seize an opportunity to export their renewable energy California's way. In this episode of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's Eric Skalac spoke to Judith Lewis Mernit who wrote about California's energy needs and the west's renewable energy network in the most recent High Country News. As Mernit writes, the situation might mean economic development for small towns with big renewable energy resources.
In the early March issue of High Country News, contributing editor Sierra Crane Murdoch tells a sprawling tale of contamination, cancer and cover up as she tries to unravel the unsolved mystery of the Fallon, Nevada cancer cluster. For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's Nelson Harvey spoke with Murdoch about what she found.
Out in the Gila National Forest, ranchers and environmentalists are working together to protect endangered wolves, while also protecting ranchers' livelihoods. In the current issue of the High Country News, writer April Reese investigates the surprising new strategy for endangered wildlife protection being tried in New Mexico.
For this episode of Sounds of the High Country, our collaboration with the High Country News, KDNK's Eric Skalac spoke to Reese about how two usually antagonistic groups are working on a solution that could make everyone happy.
The number of community gardens in the U.S. has been growing in recent years as more people take an interest in producing at least some of their own food. Yet in some western communities, a new and radical approach to communal agriculture is taking root: the edible forest garden.
In the current issue of the High Country News, the writer Kevin Taylor describes these patches of Edenic edibility that are cropping up on public land across the west. For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's collaboration with the environmental magazine High Country News, KDNK's Nelson Harvey spoke with Taylor, and checked in with the backers of an edible forest garden right here in the Roaring Fork Valley.
The booms and busts of the oil and gas industry have taken a toll on many communities in the West. In Wyoming, the coalbed methane bust in the last 10 years left about 1200 abandoned gas wells behind, sometimes right in the middle of once prosperous ranch land.
On this episode of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's Eric Skalac talks to Wyoming Public Radio's Irina Zhorov about her article in the most recent issue of the High Country News on Wyoming's abandoned gas wells.
New research shows that trees in the Western U.S. are much more sensitive to warming temperatures than previously thought, and that recent increases in average temperature may already be affecting tree mortality across the west.
For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's collaboration with the environmental magazine High Country News, Nelson Harvey spoke with the magazine's assistant editor Cally Carswell about some of that new research.
He found out that what scientists are learning about tree mortality today could have major impacts on how we prepare for the future effects of global warming.