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Rhapsody on River Foam

  Guides call it ‘beaver vomit,’ the plumes of brown foam along the river. When you first see the lines of froth, you might suspect foul play and pollution. But long-time Holiday guide Lauren Wood reassured me: “This is the good stuff. This is a healthy river.” Lauren’s words, as they often do, cajoled me Read More

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What’s Right With Uintah County: In Eight Parts

A market analyst once told me about God’s plan for dirt. He said it’s all well and good to talk about how special land is when I’m in a spectacular red rock national park, like Arches — but, he asserted, “other places God just stuck dirt to keep the earth from falling apart.” This wasn’t Read More

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Evil Weeds and Post-apocalyptic Permaculture

Don’t try to tell me tamarisk isn’t pretty. I’ve scratched my skin to ribbons on those ruddy twigs, those blue-green feathers of leaves and plumes of purple dust-flowers. I know beauty when I see it. It’s called Tamarix chinensis, as in China, where it rightfully, geographically, ecologically belongs. But it was brought here because it Read More

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Mud Bugs, Chubs, and Citizen Scientists: how river guides give back to the canyon

By: Kate Savage No matter how magnificent they are, the rivers of the West are more or less made out of mud. Those Grand Canyon walls? Petrified mud. And the grounding base of life in this place is made up of wriggling mud-bugs. By ‘mud-bugs’ I mean the larval form of aquatic insects: mayflies, caddisflies, Read More

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Feathered Velociraptors on the River

Bird Day is Saturday, May 14th, and there’s bound to be a fun-and-feather-filled celebration near you! Here are some reasons to give a day to the fierce little dinosaurs who live on the river. We put cute birdies on bland Hallmark cards and ladies hats and Portland’s pillows, but here’s the scientific truth: Birds are Read More

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Sacrifice Zones and The Water of White Mesa

Some of us love the desert. Even the desert that gets called by an Atomic Energy Commission official a “damn good place to dump used razor blades.” Some of us love the people of the desert. Even the people who get called by the AEC a “low-use segment of the population.” Those are my people Read More

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Saved by the Rodent: beavers build hope for the West

In the deserts of the West, the most precious resource is water, and that water has a guardian, and that guardian is a very big rodent. We see their wet fur in glimpses, or startle at their warning-slap on the water, recognizing that the danger they’re shouting is us. Or maybe we only see the Read More

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Fighting the Current: Deleted Words and Depleted Rivers

Over the past decade, Oxford Junior Dictionary has weeded nature out of its words. Acorn, Apricot, Blackberry, Dandelion — the plants have wilted straight out of the text, along with their animal kin Beaver, Heron, Cheetah. Their empty posts have been taken by Broadband, MP3 player, Chatroom (tellingly, Allergy, Drought, and Endangered have also made Read More

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Giving to Living Rivers: an interview with John Weisheit

  Book your Utah river trip between April 11-22 and get more than a Great Deal discount. In celebration of Earth Day, not only will you save 5% on your trip, Holiday will donate an additional 5% to Living Rivers, staunch protectors of the Colorado River Watershed. As a kid in church I belted out Read More

Laughter on the Yampa river

Health and Healing in the Natural World

Consider this a brief public health announcement: Staying inside is killing you. You feel it intuitively. You always have, even back when you were the kid in class, sighing as you stared out the window at the tree you wanted to climb. The adults said they knew what was good for you, and demanded your Read More