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 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.

Vanessa Chavarriaga


Vanessa Chavarriaga loves to be outside, whether it's floating down a river in the desert or ice skating on a frozen alpine lake. And when she posts photos of her adventures, she includes information about where exactly she was.

While President Donald Trump's accusations of widespread voter fraud are based on no evidence, they are gaining some traction in the region. 

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., is asking his supporters via text to help fund the president's legal fight, saying, "Dems are stealing the election." 

The entire four-person staff of a county health department in northwest Montana resigned this week.

Montana has long prided itself as a purple state, handing wins to both Democrats and Republicans over the past few decades. 

But on Tuesday night, conservatives won every key race in the state, nabbing a hotly contested U.S. Senate seat, Montana's lone congressional seat, and the governorship.

Talia Mayden of HUMAN

About a week before Election Day, as the Wind River Reservation was bracing for snow, Wyoming state Rep. Andi Clifford squeezed in some roadside campaigning outside of a community hall in Arapahoe.

"Normally we would've been inside," she said. "But we can't, so we're out here."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protections Thursday for the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act in the lower 48 states.


President Donald Trump is finding ways to continue reaching voters in Nevada through rallies, even as COVID-19 cases climb and state restrictions limit crowds.

Read in English.

Mientras se aproxima el día electoral, algunos estados en Mountain West se están preparando para una posible violencia e intimidación a los votantes, a raíz de la retórica del presidente Donald Trump.

Wyoming Department of Corrections

A female inmate at the center of a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Wyoming Department of Corrections has lost her appeal after a ruling in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Legal challenges and accusations of fraud are just a couple of the issues seeding doubt about a clear winner in the presidential race on Election Day. 

“My advice for voters this year is patience,” said Ken Miller, a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Utah has a number of major medical facilities that often take patients from all over the Mountain West. But the state is nearing a breaking point: too many COVID-19 patients and not enough resources. That crisis in care could have a domino effect around the region.


As election day approaches, some states in the Mountain West are preparing for potential voter intimidation and violence following rhetoric from President Donald Trump.

The sugar beet harvest is underway across the Mountain West.

It’s a big industry that depends on accurate weather forecasts and a reliable workforce – both impacted by COVID-19. 

Logan Potter is a senior at Boise State University. Like many others, the pandemic affected her mental health.

"I was struggling quite a bit, so I was like, 'I need to go to therapy,'" she said.


The Mountain West News Bureau is reporting on policing in our region. Data show that, as a whole, our region has a high per capita rate of law enforcement-involved fatalities. But there are big disparities among communities. Montana's Yellowstone County, for example, has one of the highest rates of police-involved fatalities, while Kootenai County, Idaho, has one of the lowest.

Why is that? Is policing in our region different? Are there different challenges in our communities? This year we’ll be reporting on our findings, and we also want to hear from you.

Two snowboarders who triggered an avalanche in the backcountry of Colorado in March are facing criminal charges.


Drought, wildfire and record-breaking heat are all part of the current climate landscape in the Mountain West. 

It’s a triple whammy that’s expected to continue into the coming months. 

A newly published study out of the University of Idaho suggests that the higher perceived risk of a disease, the more likely someone is to vaccinate.

Amid the economic downturn, Idaho and Utah have some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

Extremism experts say a fast-growing network of far-right activists could threaten the Mountain West and beyond. It’s called the People’s Rights network and, according to a new report, it includes anti-maskers, militia members and conspiracy theorists.


Campaigning in a normal election year can be difficult even for the most seasoned politicians. But campaigning during a pandemic adds a host of new challenges. The biggest might be how does a candidate connect with voters safely.

A recent report card on climate change education in public middle and high schools across the U.S. ranked Wyoming at the top of the class with a solid A. The rest of the Mountain West was mixed.

The U.S. Supreme Court has officially declined to take up the case of a transgender inmate in Idaho who sued state officials to get sex reassignment surgery.


HollyHarry / Shutterstock


Here's a scenario you may have found yourself in recently: You open up Facebook or Twitter, and someone you know is posting about a conspiracy theory. You wonder, Do I say something? Is there any convincing them otherwise?

A few weeks ago, rancher Noah Brooks said what was troubling him most was the weather.

“The fact that it didn’t rain, June, July, August but maybe three times, that this community runs around cattle and feed and if we don’t get some rain, we’re in big big trouble, and I think that we’re drying out,” he said.

Brooks lives in Clark, Colorado. But the conditions he describes are persistent throughout the region.

A new study adds to the growing evidence that cities with more undocumented immigrants don’t see more crime because of them.


Firefighters have long studied how fires behave to figure out where they’re going and how to keep people safe. But wildfires are becoming more unpredictable.


A dispatcher says someone was reportedly walking around a house when the owners were away on vacation. An update says that person appears to be holding a gun.


The Tri-County Health Department in Colorado is a marriage between three counties. But after 55 years together, the pandemic has them on the brink of divorce.

The relationship started with a devastating flood. Lora Thomas remembers it vividly.

“I remember sitting on Ruby Hill in Denver watching this wall of water coming down the Platte River,” said Thomas. “There were actually horses in that water that had come from a racetrack.”

A bipartisan group of Western lawmakers have signed onto a new federal bill that aims to reduce the damages of wildfire.


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