High Country News is a non-profit media source, publishing a magazine, a popular website and a weekly op-ed column service, along with special reports and books. The news organization covers the American West's public lands, water, natural resources, grazing, wilderness, wildlife, logging, politics, communities, growth and other issues now changing the face of the Western United States.


Founded in 1970 in Wyoming by rancher and environmentalist Tom Bell, High Country News is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. Located in Paonia, Colorado, 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.


High Country News has over 30,000 subscribers.[2] In 2012 it received approximately 58% of its income from contributions and grants, 29% from subscriptions, 9% from advertising, and the balance from syndication and other sources.[3]


According to a review in the Christian Science Monitor, the paper "is closely read in congressional offices and state houses, as well as in the government agencies that control most of the rural West. It has broken important stories subsequently picked up by the New York Times and other national media." Former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt described the paper as "the only place where you can really know what's happening in the rest of the West."[4]

High Country News has received numerous journalism and environmental awards, including (but not limited to):

  • Utne Reader magazine's 2013 Utne Media Award for Best Environmental Coverage [5]
  • 2013 National Association of Science Writers' 2013 Science in Society Award
  • 2012 Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism
  • The 2012 Science in Society Award from the National Association of Science Writers
  • The 2012 Society of Environmental Journalists Awards, Outstanding Beat Reporting, Small Market
  • 2011 Excellence in Journalism Awards from the Native American Journalists Association
  • The Native American Journalists Association Best Environmental Story of 2010 (monthly/bimonthly category)
  • Utne Reader magazine's 2010 Utne Independent Press Award for Environmental Coverage.[6]
  • The 2010 Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism
  • The 2009 Society of Environmental Journalists Awards, Outstanding Small Market Reporting, Print category
  • The 2008 Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism
  • The 2006 George Polk Award for Political Reporting