The Mountain West News Bureau

The Mountain West News Bureau team, from left to right: Amanda Peacher, Judy Fahys, Ali Budner, Rae Ellen Bichell, Maggie Mullen, Nate Hegyi and Kate Concannon.

In addition to a full news department serving just Wyoming, Wyoming Public Media is a founding partner in the Mountain West News Bureau, a partnership of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain States of Wyoming, Colorado Idaho, Montana, and Utah. Our mission is to tell stories about the people, places, and issues of the Rocky Mountain West.

Many of these stories and issues are regional and affect all people living in the Mountain West. From land and water management to growth in the expanding West to our unique culture and heritage, the Bureau addresses issues that define us as a region. Part of the Bureau’s charge is to submit stories to NPR and other national and global distributors, thus sharing the Mountain West culture more broadly.

Contributing stations include Boise State Public RadioWyoming Public MediaKUER in Salt Lake City, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

The editor for the Mountain West News Bureau is Kate Concannon, a long-time NPR regional editor. Maggie Mullen is the lead Wyoming reporter for this partnership, with contributions from all Wyoming Public Media reporters. The partnership is overseen by news directors in all participating stations and networks.

The Mountain West News Bureau is supported in part by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Regional Journalism Center program. Matching or contributing donations for the support of this initiative or for general WPM reporting are welcome. For more information, contact Christina Kuzmych, Wyoming Public Media General Manager at ckuzmych@uwyo.edu.

Yellowstone officials try to make it very clear that tourists should not get close to wild bison. There are posters, educational videos and park rangers who warn people to stay clear of wildlife. But all that education might not be cutting it, according to a recent study. 

Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death for adolescents in the country. And in the Mountain West, youth suicide rates are double, and in some cases triple, the national average. Now, a new study shows parents are often unaware that their kids are struggling.

The National Guard

Driving many of the highways of the Mountain West, it's common to be a lone car surrounded by semi-trucks. But that could change. The trucking industry is facing a record shortage of drivers right now.

Bob Costello is the Chief Economist at the American Trucking Associations. He said if current trends hold,the shortage of drivers could surpass 174,000 by 2026.

"If you're short bottled water what happens to the price of bottled water? It goes up," Costello said.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jeffrey Parkinson

Our region has a disproportionate number of federal workers and last Friday many of them went without a paycheck for the first time under the shutdown. Thousands have turned to GoFundMe pages while others are selling their belongings on Craigslist.

Missouri has already made it a crime to label something like a veggie burger or tissue grown in a lab as “meat.” Now, other states are considering doing the same.

Wyoming legislators are scheduled to discuss a bill this week that would prohibit the word “meat” from appearing on a package that does not contain edible parts of what was previously a live animal.  

A Jan. 31 deadline is approaching for the Drought Contingency Plans, a set of agreements between seven states about how to manage dwindling water supplies, including here in the Mountain West.

The region has been in a drought for 19 years now, and water levels continue to retreat in major reservoirs.

Winter is when the federal government starts spending dollars to prepare for the wildfire season, but the ongoing shutdown has put some of this preparation in limbo.

As the partial government shutdown stretches toward a third week, both the public and public employees alike are feeling the pain. But there’s another casualty: public information.

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could restore tribal hunting rights in Wyoming, which could affect tribes throughout our region.


A new study shows US greenhouse gas emissions are going up. The natural gas boom is partially to blame. It’s a big industry in our region.

If the impasse over President Trump’s proposed border wall makes it to Saturday morning, this will be the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. And it has an unlikely victim — craft beer.

Department of the Interior

A new Executive Order posted Monday in the Federal Register is aimed at fire risk reduction. It prioritizes "active management" on about eight million acres of public lands. That's a catch-all phrase that includes logging.

The Mountain West has some of the highest teen suicide rates in the country. A new report out of the region looks at what conditions contribute to the high rate of youth suicide. 

Unlike previous administrations, President Trump’s Interior Department has directed national parks to keep their gates open while furloughing most workers during this latest government shutdown. But as the partial shutdown enters its third week, critics argue the parks are becoming unsafe.

Erik Neumann

2018 was an interesting year for our region. From elections and population growth to an evolving debate about public lands use, the Mountain West News Bureau tackled all kinds of stories. We took a look back.

There's no doubt skiing can be a very expensive sport, and now there's a concern that mergers and acquisitions could make it even more pricey. So is it increasingly a sport for the wealthy?


U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, may try to re-introduce landmark legislation that would address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women in the U.S.

A new rule proposed last week by the U.S. Interior Department could make it harder for news outlets and non-profit organizations to get public information on a range of federal issues.

On Thursday, Democrats take back control of the House. Among several priorities is reviving a popular bipartisan conservation program that’s been dead for months.

The Trump Administration has declined to extend federal protections for two plants native to the Mountain West.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service posted a list of 13 species from around the country it recently considered - but decided to not include - on its endangered and threatened species lists. The list includes the Utah's Frisco Buckwheat and Wyoming's Fremont County Rockcress.

New York State Police Traffic Stop by dwightsghost is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

What do driving and buying a six pack of beer have in common? You usually need to have your license. But what if you could use your smartphone instead? Four states are testing out digital driver's licenses, and two are right here in the Mountain West - Colorado and Wyoming.

Funding for one of the Mountain West's key environmental protection programs is on hold until after the holidays. 

The new legal marijuana industry is generating billions of dollars and creating thousands of jobs, but it's also creating instability, restructuring and some layoffs for one group of workers - drug detection dogs. 

The federal government has continually broken treaty promises to tribal nations, according to a damning new report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

The Mountain West region has the first airport in the country to pilot a new kind of security screening machine. The most obvious feature of Denver International’s new body scanner is that it allows travelers to keep their arms down at their sides while being scanned. 

The second round of payments to farmers affected by President Trump’s trade war with China will soon get sent out. The application deadline for growers is Jan. 15.

But the bulk of that money is largely skipping our region.


The Federal Duck Stamp Program is for the birds, at least when it comes to birdwatchers.

Researchers at University of Idaho say they have been able to track bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics – something that’s a new development in combating antibiotic resistance.


Several Mountain West Republicans are reportedly on the short list to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, after President Donald Trump announced his imminent departure over the weekend.

Utah will soon impose the country's strictest limits for drunk driving.

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