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.

The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.  Our mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Rocky Mountain West.

From land and water management to growth in the expanding West to our unique culture and heritage, we’ll explore the issues that define us and the challenges we face.

Contributing stations include Boise State Public Radio, Wyoming Public Media, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The fossil skeleton of a carnivorous dinosaur recently found in Wyoming was just auctioned off in Paris. Paleontologists are worried the sale is part of a trend that will keep specimens from our region out of the hands of scientists.

The Trump administration is forcing the head of Yellowstone National Park out of his job. Dan Wenk said the National Park Service will replace him with a new superintendent this August.

Wildfire season is ramping up in the region. Fire teams are now working to quash one outside Durango, Colorado, and Utah recently stopped another. That state is now doing prescribed burns to reduce the chance of a bigger blaze.

Amanda Peacher / Mountain West News Bureau

Environmental Protection Agency leader Scott Pruitt made a quiet visit to Boise Tuesday, to sign a new agreement between his agency and the state of Idaho.

 

Our region ranks in the top ten for suicide. A new study from the University of Utah shows there may be a reason for that.

The head of Yellowstone National Park says he plans to retire next March, ending a more than four decade run with the National Park Service. The surprise announcement came after speculation he was being reassigned for political reasons.

In the summer of 2012, fiancés David Mullins and Charlie Craig tried to order a wedding cake from a shop in a Denver suburb. The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop refused to serve the same-sex couple because of his Christian beliefs. Now, the Supreme Court has sided with the baker, but not for the reason you might expect.

You may not have been to Yellowstone or the Grand Teton but you’ve probably seen photos of Bear 610 and her family. Still, the grizzly hasn’t been spotted this year and some are concerned she’s met an untimely end.

Colorado will be the first state in the country to test out so-called "smart pavement" on a stretch of highway this year.  The goal of these high tech roads is to make drivers safer.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is partnering with Integrated Roadways to install a half mile of high-tech road panels on a mountainous stretch of highway just outside of Denver later this year. Peter Kozinski is the director of CDOT’s $2.75 million “smart pavement” pilot project.

Climate change is expected to exacerbate wildfires, drought and flooding throughout the Mountain West. Some cities are looking at how these changes will affect their town and how they can prepare.

An article published in the journal, Nature, this month explains how a 130 million year old fossilized skull is shaking up scientists’ understanding of how and when the earth’s continents broke apart.

The skull was from a small fur-covered, egg-laying mammal that co-existed with the dinosaurs called the Cifelliodon wakarmoosuch.

Springtime in the Mountain West means newborn animals. And with that comes opportunities for some very adorable wildlife viewing and photography. But officials want to remind visitors and locals alike to hold back from interacting with young wildlife.

Courtesy U.S. Forest Service

President Trump has overturned a rule requiring outfitters to pay river and backcountry guides on public lands a minimum wage.

The Interior Department wants to open up a quarter-million acres at national wildlife refuges for hunting and fishing.

The move would impact 21 states. In our region, it would expand hunting at a refuge in Utah  and another in Montana. It would also open Montana’s Swan River refuge to big game hunting for the first time.

Until fairly recently, it was illegal to harvest rainwater in Colorado. Now, as in a number of other Western states, it’s seen as alternative water source in an increasingly dry landscape. But is rainwater safe?

Sybil Sharvelle, an environmental engineer at Colorado State University, is one researcher trying to answer that question.

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