Nate Hegyi

Reporter

Nate Hegyi is a reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau based at Yellowstone Public Radio. He earned an M.A. in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism in 2016 and interned at NPR’s Morning Edition in 2014. In a prior life, he toured around the country in a band, lived in Texas for a spell, and once tried unsuccessfully to fly fish.

Ways to Connect

A recent aerial survey revealed there are only three wild caribou left in the contiguous United States. Biologists say the chances to save them are slim, but an international recovery team is still trying.

Before the 19th century, thousands of woodland caribou ranged from Washington to New England. But then those herds were decimated by overhunting, logging and broken-up habitat.

Now you can count the number of wild caribou left in the Lower 48 on one hand. They live in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho.

Yellowstone
Nate Hegyi / Yellowstone Public Radio

Now that a National Parks entrance fee hike is on hold, competing legislation is floating through Congress that would permanently pay for the multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog using federal mineral revenues.

Briana Lamb posts a status update on Facebook at the state capitol in Helena, Montana.
Nate Hegyi / Yellowstone Public Radio

Mark Zuckerberg is on the hot seat this week. He’s testifying in front of Congress about Facebook user profiles being mined without permission.  

The data breach prompted a “Delete Facebook” movement that hasn’t really gained any traction.

That’s especially true in the Native American community, where Facebook is much more than sharing cat videos or keeping in touch with friends and family.  

Extreme fires, flash droughts, and fast-melting snowpacks are all predicted in the state's first ever climate assessment, which is slated for release on September 20th.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management

The omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last month earmarked billions of dollars for fighting wildfires.  Many conservationists and politicians celebrated that change.

But the legislation also rolls rolls back some environmental protections and that has split the conservation community.

Coal
Kym Farnik / Flickr

Over the past decade, the market for Mountain West coal has cooled. Renewables and natural gas in the U.S. are cheaper, stocks are tumbling and some coal companies are even teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

oil well
Montana Public Radio

A federal judge has ruled the federal government can’t ignore climate change when considering new fossil fuel leases in Montana and Wyoming.

18-year-old Joey Chester, a College Republican at Montana State University, is slated to speak at the rally on Saturday.
Gordon Calhoun / courtesy of Joey Chester

Hundreds of thousands of students are calling for stricter gun control measures at “March For Our Lives” rallies across the country on Saturday. But in Mountain West states like Idaho, Utah and Montana, counter-protestors are organizing pro-gun rallies. 

States in the Mountain West sell everything from beef to computer parts to China.
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Ranchers and farmers in the Mountain West ship a lot of products overseas to China. Now the Trump administration is expected to hit China with $60 billion dollars worth of annual tariffs.

Last year China opened its doors to U.S. beef for the first time in more than a decade.

Montana ranchers jumped at the opportunity. They signed a multi-million dollar deal with a large Chinese company to sell beef.

George Haynes, an economist with Montana State University, wonders what the retaliation is going to be if the Trump administration slaps these tariffs on China.

Study co-author Philip Higuera holding a burn severity map near Lolo, Montana.
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

I’m marching through a stand of blackened, towering pine trees with fire ecologist Philip Higuera. He stops and sniffs the air.

“We can smell the charcoal here,” he says. “You smell that?”

Higuera is a low-key guy with a trimmed beard and sporty sunglasses. But when I ask him whether the massive wildfire that raced across Lolo Peak in Montana last summer was bad, he corrects my choice of words. 

Bison
Yellowstone National Park

This week, Yellowstone National Park officials arrested two animal rights activists who were protesting a controversial, annual slaughter of some of the last free-roaming bison in the world. 

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