The Southwest Scene

Dark Skies and Stars Above

Dark Skies and Stars Above

Natural Bridges, Utah Americans have lost silence, solitude and darkness, but now the National Park Service has new initiatives to preserve and appreciate our dark skies, especially on the Colorado Plateau. Natural Bridges National Monument west of Blanding, Utah, has been named the world’s first Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association and visitors […]

The Pothunting Problem- Thieves of Time in the American Southwest

The Pothunting Problem- Thieves of Time in the American Southwest

Two hours after wearing a surveillance wire in a pot-hunting investigation, I placed a loaded .38 Colt revolver in my pickup. Just in case. I told my wife to lock the doors and windows, shut the blinds, and keep our small sons inside. The young pothunter I had just helped  the feds bust knew I […]

Utah Adventure in the Pleistocene: Hunting Mammoths in San Juan County

Utah Adventure in the Pleistocene: Hunting Mammoths in San Juan County

  San Juan County It takes a long time to find a mammoth, especially if it’s been buried beneath tamarisk, oakbrush, and Russian olive bushes. I’d heard rumors about a mammoth in San Juan County, but a beast from the Pleistocene is hard to locate and even harder to prove. Now thanks to the BLM, […]

The 1892 Illustrated American Exploring Expedition

The 1892 Illustrated American Exploring Expedition

                  Most explorations into southern Utah and the Southwest became famous. Here’s one expedition that didn’t. The explorers visited 100 archaeological sites between Durango, Colorado and Comb Ridge, Utah—80 of them never before described or recorded, but they had a miserable time of it, constantly underfunded, underfed, dehydrated, with sand in their […]

The Girl Who Broke the Sagebrush Ceiling

The Girl Who Broke the Sagebrush Ceiling

Bluff, Utah Ed Abbey called her a “girl ranger” and she was—the very first.  She began her federal career tracking grave robbers and pothunters in southeast Utah and ended it catching pot growers in western Oregon.  Lynell Schalk broke through the sagebrush ceiling as the first female armed ranger and Special-Agent-in-Charge for the Bureau of […]

Taking Back Glen Canyon

Taking Back Glen Canyon

  Bullfrog, Utah Each summer I do penance at Lake Powell for the eco-sins of the West. This summer was no exception as I worked on the Trash Tracker houseboat picking up trash in 108 degree heat along 1,900 miles of shoreline. Our team found the usual amount of beer cans, soda cans, diapers, toys, […]

New Rules For Moon House

New Rules For Moon House

  Cedar Mesa, Utah Standing on a wide stone shelf, looking across canyon as mid-morning sun lit the opposite side, I stood in silence viewing Moon House for the first time. I stared at the complex of 800-year-old rooms with multiple doorways. Here was an entire stone village with both McElmo style and Mesa Verde […]