6. High Country News The Goat

Serving up the most important news amid the alpine peaks and rustling sage

The Goat

The Goat     Photo: Courtesy High Country News

Good for: Following Western land, wildlife, and energy management policy and debate           

Written by: A mix of interns and staffers contribute. Most are pedigreed journalists who also know how to read maps and handle an axe.

High-speed rail, carrion-eating beetles, and the machinations of obscure federal agencies all have a home on The Goat. The website and its bimonthly magazine are focused on land use, wildlife, energy and environmental justice issues pertinent to the American West. Despite that somewhat narrow focus, if you're an outdoor recreation enthusiast based anywhere you'll find the relevance—especially if you're also a land-use policy wonk.

Sample post: A piece on illegal mountain bike trails sparked a sprawling and passionate debate among HCN readers, revealing the the diversitty of opinions about land use in the mountain west.

If you build it, the federal land agencies will include it.

That's what Montana mountain biking enthusiast Ron Cron counted on when he embarked on a three-day, illegal trail-making frenzy in the Flathead National Forest in May 2009, complete with jumps and other technical features.

Cron was caught and slapped with a misdemeanor and a $300 fine. He now has a volunteer trail maintenance agreement to improve Beardance, Crane Creek and Phillips trails. But the Swan View Coalition, a nonprofit public lands and wildlife conservation group in Western Montana, alleges U.S. Forest Service officials are looking the other way on some of Cron's "overzealous" volunteer maintenance, which has included natural obstacles like elevated logs or log ramps, technical mountain biker favorites. ...

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