Thursday, August 13, 2020
High Country News Exhibit Offers Look at Issues Through the Decades
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Tuesday, July 28, 2020
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

In the late 1960s a Wyoming rancher, biologist and World War II combat veteran named Tom Bell became dismayed by the strip mining, clear-cutting and poaching he saw going on around him.

He didn’t just gripe.

He founded the Wyoming Outdoor Council, which is now the Cowboy State’s leading environmental group. And two years later he purchased “Camping News Weekly,” a small publication aimed at hunters and anglers. He renamed it “High Country News” and transformed it into a biweekly voice for the burgeoning environmental movement.

Over time, the 501©3 magazine expanded to cover issues throughout the American West. It was  moved from Lander, Wyo., to Paonia, Colo., in a pickup truck carrying an addressing machine, photo file, subscribers list, some back issues, a dolly and a couple chairs. And it adopted the motto: “For people who care about the West.”

Its stories have included looks at immigrant workers in the West’s ski resorts, Polynesian gangs in Salt Lake City, how the Park Service is failing women and the disposable workers of the oil and gas fields, as well as stories about the climate effects of global wind-blown dust, water conflicts, tribal concerns and the causes of tree die-off.

You can learn more when a traveling exhibition on “High Country News: Chronicler of the West” opens Wednesday, July 29, at The Regional History Museum in Ketchum’s Forest Service Park.

The exhibit, which celebrates the newspaper/magazine’s 50th anniversary, is on loan from the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles. It examines the cultural, social and environmental issues of the West covered by High Country News.

The exhibition offers a look at what topics were relevant to the community throughout the West. And it offers an interactive opportunity for visitors to learn about and express their opinion about the future of the West.

“The exhibit not only examines the publication and its accomplishments from 1970 through today but it celebrates the depth and breadth of exceptional journalism rooted here in the West,” said Mary Tyson, director of Regional History. “I think it could be inspiring for a young budding journalist here in the valley to be exposed to such strong and passionate news writing.”

The exhibition will run through Sept. 30.

The Regional History Museum, located at First and Washington streets in Ketchum, is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free.

 


 

 

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