Mountain West News Bureau

KUNR Public Radio is a proud partner in the Mountain West News Bureau, a partnership of public media stations that serve Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Mountain West. 

Contributing stations include Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The editor for the Mountain West News Bureau is Kate Concannon, a long-time NPR regional editor. Noah Glick is the KUNR reporter for this partnership.

The Mountain West has seen the largest increase in mask-wearing over the last few months than any other region, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.


Finding election poll workers is usually a challenge, but it’s even harder this year.


Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow Nate on social media, an online blog and this “Where Is He Now?” map.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.


Frank Fahland has been slowly building his dream house near Libby, Mont., for the past 15 years. 

"It's an Amish log home with a beautiful stain on it and the best back deck you've ever seen in your whole life," he says, overlooking pine-forested foothills and an open meadow.

Ever since the pandemic ramped up in mid-March, Fahland, 61, has been spending most days up here – away from people. Like hundreds of other folks in Libby, he's vulnerable to complications from COVID-19 because his lungs are scarred from breathing in asbestos-laced dust from a nearby mine for decades. He struggles to climb a small hill near his house before reaching for an inhaler. 

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.


When mass protests erupted across the country in late spring, the first Wyoming community to join that national movement was the city of Riverton. On June 1st, 150 or so people gathered in Riverton City Park to honor George Floyd's life and demand justice. 

Riverton is conservative and rural, with a population of about 11,000 people. But it's also surrounded by the Wind River Reservation. The June demonstration was led by a young Arapaho person from Wind River, Micah Lott. 

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management held its first oil and gas lease sales in months, netting more than $8 million from drillers eyeing public lands primarily in New Mexico.


Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow Nate on social media, an online blog and this “Where Is He Now?” map.

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow Nate on social media, an online blog and this “Where Is He Now?” map.

William Perry Pendley’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Land Management may have been pulled, but he’s still effectively leading the organization. Two lawsuits are still trying to put that to an end. 


The lab going up in Boise, Idaho, will be part of a new, larger U.S. Geological Survey building. And it would test environmental DNA, or eDNA, from around the nation. That is, instead of trying to find an invasive animal, like a single mussel or fish in a lake, scientists could just sample water to test for DNA of certain species.


Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow Nate on social media, an online blog and this “Where Is He Now?” map. 

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. 

A stone carving on a mountain
Emil Moffatt / WABE

A walk along the trails at Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta, Georgia can be peaceful. The sweeping views from the top of the mountain can be breathtaking, and a visit to a new dinosaur exhibit there can be educational.

Camion frente a muro fronterizo
Foto cortesia del Servicio de Ciudadania e Inmigracion

Read in English.

Cuando se trata de inmigración, los estadounidenses tienen muchos conceptos erróneos sobre los inmigrantes. Ese es uno de los hallazgos de una nueva encuesta nacional publicada el jueves por Public Agenda, USA Today e Ipsos Hidden Common Ground.

COVID-19 infections are waning slightly in the rural U.S., but the number of deaths there is still climbing. 


A woman speaking into a microphone
Noah Taborda / KCUR

Nearly 100 years after J.C. (Jesse Clyde) Nichols built Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza — an outdoor shopping center modeled after Spanish architecture — his name has been stripped from one of its streets and an iconic fountain.

Skies are hazy across the region thanks to the many wildfires burning in the West, and that smoke is more dangerous during the pandemic. 

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee displayed in front of a building.
Liam Niemeyer / Ohio Valley Resource

The sun was setting on the courthouse square in the rural college town of Murray, Kentucky, after another sweltering July day. The town bills itself as the “friendliest small town in America,” but recent controversy around the removal of a Confederate monument have complicated that image.

The Rural West Covid Project was conducted back in June and July, when cases of the novel coronavirus were spiking across the country.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has greenlighted the expansion of hunting and fishing access to more than 2.3 million acres and 147 wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries across the nation.


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