Stories and Reports

Colorado River
In Crisis

Stories and Reports

The Western
Energy Boom

Stories and Reports

Health Care in
the Rural West

Historical Background

The Country Life Commission

Dear Visitor: This site preserves the legacy publications of the Rural West Initiative from 2009-2014. 
For more recent information on our conference and publications, please go to

Oil Boom, Ancestral Lands and the Southwest Economy: West Reads for Nov. 28 - Dec. 4

(Photo: karma17)

By Elizabeth Titus

In this inaugural edition of West Reads, we round up what our community was reading about the rural American west this week. Please join the conversation by using our Twitter hashtag, #westreads.


“Oil Boom Puts Strain On North Dakota Towns” by John McChesney, NPR, Dec. 2: “The find could be the largest ever in the lower 48 states. It's expected to make North Dakota the third largest producer of oil after Alaska and Texas. But many residents of the oil boom region are not singing ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ — they're saying ‘enough.’”

“California Indians could regain ancestral lands” by Brian F. Codding and Ron W. Goode, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 27: “An unlikely turn of events has opened up this historic opportunity.”

“Company Backs out of $45 Million Deal to Buy Troubled Wyoming Gas Field” by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica, Nov. 29: “The cancelled sale could signal difficulty for companies trying to turn over aging gas fields if there are environmental or health concerns related to their operations.”

“Beyond Sprawl - Rethinking The Southwest Economy” by Fronteras, November-December 2011: “In this multimedia series, we investigate the past and the present to report on what growth in the Southwest could look like in the future.”

“Wyoming senator gains political stature in Capitol” by the Associated Press, Nov. 25: “CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- In the last four years, Sen. John Barrasso has gone from being an orthopedic surgeon relieving patients of pain in Wyoming to being a sharp political operator needling President Barack Obama and liberal policies in the nation's capital.”

“Westerns are back in the TV saddle” by T.L. Stanley, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 5: “Not since the genre's heyday in the 1960s have so many Old West series been in development.”

On the bookshelf

“Good Crop/Bad Crop: Seed Politics and the Future of Food in Canada” by Devlin Kuyek; “Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada” by Clarence King; “Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs: Living and Writing in the West” by Wallace Stegner; “Bitterbrush Country: Living on the Edge of the Land” by Diane Josephy Peavey; “Washington: A Guide to the Evergreen State” by the Writers’ Program (Wash.); “Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness” by Edward Abbey.


Thanks to this week’s #westreads contributors: S Stunden Bower (@StundenBower), Samuel Adams (@samuelcarladams), Craig Miller (@voxterra), Heather West (@carrwest) and Ross Fuqua (@rossfuqua).

Last modified Sun, 4 Dec, 2011 at 15:33