High Country News

A nonprofit organization

For over fifty years, we've had the great honor of covering the Western United States. We've been able to survive -- and thrive -- that long because of readers like you who make donations beyond the subscription cost. Reader-support helps us report on and publish important stories about this remarkable region. Your contributions are the reason we can produce award-winning journalism, sustain a fellowship program, and send HCN to our nation's lawmakers and to students around the country. Thank you! Every dollar is spent wisely.


"I was a full-time journalist for 23 years, including stints at the dearly missed afternoon daily The Albuquerque Tribune, and a decade at The Denver Post, where I wrote about food and agriculture, among other things. I consider HCN a national treasure, and a must-read for all Westerners who care about our fragile, fraught patch of earth. HCN’s team of journalists performs vital work, month after month. I’m proud to support HCN, and to champion its value to others. " Dan Brown, Boulder, CO

"I teach at Colorado Mountain College and value your articles as a teaching tool for its content and literary journalism style. Thank you for writing about what matters." Denise Moss, Carbondale, CO 

"Thank you for all of the incredible journalism you provide - it makes me feel more connected to the West and the myriad of environmental and social issues we're confronting here. I've developed a ritual of reading it in the morning while I drink my coffee, and it is one of my favorite parts of my day - I look forward to it."  Jacqueline A. Slocombe, Lakewood, CO

Doug Fox won the Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism-Features at the 2018 AGU Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony for "Firestorm." Daniel Glick and Jason Plautz won the Thomas L. Stokes Award for Best Energy and Environment Writing for their February 2019 article "The rising risks of the West's latest gas boom." Julian Brave NoiseCat was a finalist for the prestigious Livingston Awards from the University of Michigan for "A tale of two housing crises, rural and urban."

David Leonhardt of the New York Times wrote in his December 2017 list of recommended publications:
"The single most common suggestion from readers falls into the broad category of regional news: High Country News. As one newsletter reader, Suzanne, explained to me: The name is "not a reference to marijuana." Instead, "'High Country' is an older term for the Western U.S." The publication covers land use, climate, wildfires and many other issues. I started reading this week and will become a regular."

2023 Journalism Awards and Honors

2023 American Society of Magazine Editors award nomination, one of the industry’s highest honors, in the Feature Writing category for the story "Underwater Legends" by B. “Toastie” Oaster published in HCN's October 2022 issue. This article was also a finalist in the 2023 National Magazine Awards. 

HCN was recognized with four (4) 2023 National Native Media awards presented by the Native American Journalists Association. 

  • Laureli Ivanoff received an honorable mention for her column The Seasons of Uŋalaqłiq;” 
  • Lyric Aquino received third place in the Best Health Coverage category for her article “Indigenous farmers reclaim time-honored techniques;” 
  • Joseph Lee, Jessie Blaeser and Anna V. Smith received an honorable mention for Best Environmental Coverage in our collaboration with Grist for “Tribes in the Colorado River Basin are fighting for their water. States wish they wouldn’t;” and 
  • Nick Martin received first place for Best Editorial for his article, “Native Lit is more than a marketing term.”

Contributing Editor Melissa Chadburn’s novel, A Tiny Upward Shove, was longlisted for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel.

Contributor Sarah Sax’s story “Unbearable Heat,” from June 2022, about the horrifying conditions inside Washington’s prisons, has racked up multiple awards — 

  • First Place for Investigative Reporting from the Newswomen’s Club of New York, 
  • A writing award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors in the category of Social Change, 
  • Finalist for the 2023 Victor K. McElheny Award from the MIT Knight Science Journalism Program, and
  • It’s been cited by officials investigating the issue. 

HCN’s production team — Cindy Wehling, Roberto “Bear” Guerra and Luna Anna Archey — notched up two notable achievements: 

  • Alex Boersma’s illustration for “Salmon in Troubled Waters” in the July 2022 issue was a Society of Publication Designers Merit Winner, and 
  • the October 2022 cover, featuring a photo from June T Sanders, was a finalist in the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Best Cover Contest for Best News and Politics Cover.


High Country News is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit news organization that covers the important issues that define the American West. Its mission is to inform and inspire people - through in-depth journalism - to act on behalf of the West's diverse natural and human communities.

Background Statement

High Country News is the nation's leading source of reporting on the Western United States. We publish an award-winning magazine and a popular website, along with special reports and books. Through in-depth reporting, High Country News covers the West's social, political and ecological issues. From Alaska and the Northern Rockies to the desert Southwest, the Great Plains to the West Coast, High Country News covers 12 Western states and hundreds of Indigenous communities. We are an essential magazine for people who care about this region.

Our print and online magazine has more than 24,000 subscribers. Our website attracts nearly 400,000 sessions each month, and our online archives are unusually deep, from the first issue in 1970 to today.

High Country News' commitment to environmental and social responsibility gives an added resonance to our unique Western voice. We strive to inspire, engage and challenge readers to bridge cultural divides, expand their own perspectives and consider new ideas. We want our readers to know the West.

Guided by our mission to inform and inspire people to act on behalf of the West's diverse natural and human communities, the organization's primary efforts are the production of a monthly magazine, High Country News, and a website, www.hcn.org. In 1970, Tom Bell, a teacher, rancher, and wildlife biologist, founded High Country News in Lander, Wyoming, to sound the alarm about environmental destruction in the Northern Rockies.

Through our competitive editorial fellowship program (often referred to as "journalism bootcamp") we train the next generation of reporters. The program, which has trained over 230 people since 1983, teaches interns to analyze complex Western issues and contending viewpoints and gives them crucial reporting and editing skills.

In 2020, the HCNU Classroom Subscription Program reached almost 500 professors serving more than 16,000 students in a wide variety of disciplines. This program provides free student subscriptions, and an online librarian available to professors.

Organization Data


Organization name

High Country News

other names

HCN, High Country Foundation

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Science & Technology, Environment, Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, Arts, Culture & Humanities

Organization Size

Large Organization


119 Grand Avenue
Paonia, CO 81428


P.O. Box 1090
Paonia, CO 81428

Service areas






Social Media