Opinion

For the last 35 years, I’ve been covering what we call the “salmon wars” in the Pacific Northwest, writing so many stories about salmon heading toward extinction that I’ve lost count.

Throughout the West, thousands of ditches that snake for miles through semi-arid country are nothing less than beloved. They add living green corridors to walk or bike along, impromptu wetlands frequented by birds and, always, a respite from summer heat.

Ever since boycotts started blocking Russian petroleum products, social media has been rife with memes that blame rising gasoline prices on “the cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline.”

It's not always easy living in the rural West, with customs so entrenched that everybody takes them for granted. What makes it hard for the newest newcomers is that they’re caught up in a mysterious culture.

We know now that the largest recorded fire in New Mexico history was started by an escaped “prescribed burn,” or rather by two. The Hermit’s Peak fire bolted away on April 6 when unexpectedly gusty winds blew sparks beyond control lines.

Decades ago, when I was young and hungry and took bicycle racing seriously enough to try pursuing it as a career, I had a reliable way of assessing my chances of winning an event: If I felt scared or nervous on the start line, I knew there was a good possibility that I had what it took to fight my way to a top result.

On a summer morning in southern Idaho, the day breaks early, before 6 a.m. The air is stale, never fully cooled from the heat of the day before.

My neighbor is famous. She has 50,000 followers on Facebook and a recent post on her page there had 4,200 likes, 250 comments and 400 shares within a day. She is Bear 399, the most famous grizzly in the Northern Rockies.

National parks have been getting a lot of love since the pandemic, so much that this summer you need reservations at many. For example, you must make a reservation just to drive Montana's legendary Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, and passes can sell out within hours of release.

Columnist Steven Law writes that part of his motivation for creating a meditation garden is teaching ideas about gratitude, the value of hard work and the power of hope to his daughters.

I’m disgusted with American journalism. It’s boring. I blame editors for assigning uninteresting stories and people interviewed for being evasive. So, for a modest fee, I provide journalists with stories that could have happened and quotes that should have been uttered. Contact me at CustomFacts.org.

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