The Mountain West News Bureau

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, Neveda, New Mexico, 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.

The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico with support from affiliate stations across the region.

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.

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow Nate on social media, an online blog and this “Where Is He Now?” map.

The Mountain West has seen the largest increase in mask-wearing over the last few months than any other region, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.


Last week, the Bureau of Land Management held its first oil and gas lease sales in months, netting more than $8 million from drillers eyeing public lands primarily in New Mexico.


Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow Nate on social media, an online blog and this “Where Is He Now?” map. 

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. 

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.


Frank Fahland has been slowly building his dream house near Libby, Mont., for the past 15 years. 

"It's an Amish log home with a beautiful stain on it and the best back deck you've ever seen in your whole life," he says, overlooking pine-forested foothills and an open meadow.

Ever since the pandemic ramped up in mid-March, Fahland, 61, has been spending most days up here – away from people. Like hundreds of other folks in Libby, he's vulnerable to complications from COVID-19 because his lungs are scarred from breathing in asbestos-laced dust from a nearby mine for decades. He struggles to climb a small hill near his house before reaching for an inhaler. 

The lab going up in Boise, Idaho, will be part of a new, larger U.S. Geological Survey building. And it would test environmental DNA, or eDNA, from around the nation. That is, instead of trying to find an invasive animal, like a single mussel or fish in a lake, scientists could just sample water to test for DNA of certain species.


COVID-19 infections are waning slightly in the rural U.S., but the number of deaths there is still climbing. 


William Perry Pendley’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Land Management may have been pulled, but he’s still effectively leading the organization. Two lawsuits are still trying to put that to an end. 


National Park Service / Michael Oestriech

The Rural West Covid Project was conducted back in June and July, when cases of the novel coronavirus were spiking across the country.

TERRA earth

Skies are hazy across the region thanks to the many wildfires burning in the West, and that smoke is more dangerous during the pandemic. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has greenlighted the expansion of hunting and fishing access to more than 2.3 million acres and 147 wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries across the nation.


Today marks the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in the United States. But that right came much earlier in the Mountain West. 


No, it's not a sci-fi movie. A fire tornado touched down near the Nevada-California border Saturday, during the Loyalton Fire about 25 miles west of Reno, Nev.

A U.S. Postal Service employee faces jail time after allegedly throwing out critical immigration documents.


Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock

Daniel Bear lives in Kenilworth, Utah, a small community of around 200 people between Salt Lake City and Moab. Earlier this year, Bear suffered a woodworking accident that involved his hand and a tablesaw. It was messy.

There's an effort afoot to better identify heat waves – like the one gripping much of the American West right now.

Only about 20% of Americans live in rural areas, but that’s where 30% of driving and 45% of fatal traffic accidents happen.


COVID-19 is set to be one of the leading causes of death across the country this year.

More than 165,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 already in 2020, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There isn't much else killing Americans at such a high rate.

When it comes to immigration, Americans have a lot of misconceptions about immigrants.  That’s one of the findings from a new national survey released Thursday from Public Agenda, USA Today and Ipsos Hidden Common Ground.

One of the Mountain West's major police departments is under investigation after two serious incidents involving people of color. 

In a brief statement issued Tuesday, Colorado's office of the attorney general said it has been looking into the Aurora Police Department near Denver for several weeks now. 

President Donald Trump says an executive order he signed on Saturday funds a $400 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits. But it likely won't be as helpful as it seems.


Elise Dantzler has been working in restaurants since she was 15. But, like many in her industry, she was laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That forced the 25-year-old Coloradan to rethink her living situation.

Lately I've been spending my Wednesday mornings in Riverton City Park. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, it's safer to interview people outdoors, and I've been asking everyone I run into the same question: Is Riverton, Wyo., on the Wind River Reservation?

Concerts and music festivals around the Mountain West have been canceled due to COVID-19, but not all of them.


Millions of renters nationwide are at risk of eviction, and new data out of Nevada offers a sense of just how urgent the situation is as Congress debates another COVID-19 relief bill.

Enoch Leung / flickr CC BY-SA 2.0


There's a lot to consider with schools reopening this fall. That's especially true for teachers and other staff members. Take Ken Hilton—he's a middle school counselor in Laramie, Wyoming. He also has a daughter going into the seventh grade. He says he's not sure what the best approach is. This piece was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau's Maggie Mullen and was made possible with the support of America Amplified.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is asking for the public's help in addressing its non-native mountain goat problem. The park announced Thursday, August 6, it is now accepting applications from qualified volunteers for a culling program. Culling is set to begin mid-September and wrap up by the middle of November.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

The U.S. Census Bureau has announced it's ending the 2020 count a month early, a move that's likely to have a big impact on Indigenous communities in the West.

 


Jacob W. Frank / NPS

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed the Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan bill being hailed as the biggest public lands and conservation legislation in a generation.

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