Nate Hegyi

Mountain West Bureau at YPR

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.

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A coal train in the Powder River Basin
Jerry Huddleston / Flickr

A U.S. district court judge has struck down the City of Oakland’s ban on transporting coal through a planned export terminal there.

Lyle St. Goddard, 56, says he's one of the oldest hotshot firefighters in the nation.
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

Wildfire season is ramping up across our region. There are all sorts of people involved in waiting, watching and fighting them -- people you might not expect. We’re profiling some of them in a series, Faces Behind The Fires.

Lyle St. Goddard, 56, is running along a dirt trail on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.  

“It takes me about a lap to loosen up,” he said.

Being a hotshot is a young man’s game.

“I still can do it,” St. Goddard, one of the oldest crew members in the country, said. “I just got to keep in shape. I’ll be okay.”

Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

While Colorado and Utah didn’t get a lot of snow this winter, the Northern Rockies did. But now those record-breaking snowpacks are melting really fast and causing some of the worst flooding in more than four decades.

Researchers at Idaho State University lost a 'minute' amount of plutonium nearly a decade ago.
National Nuclear Security Administration

Researchers at Idaho State University said they’ve lost a small amount of weapons-grade plutonium. Federal officials aren’t pleased.

Marita Growing Thunder sews ribbon skirts to remember missing and murdered indigenous women.
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

  

Marita Growing Thunder, 19, is sitting in the grass on a warm spring afternoon at the University of Montana campus in Missoula where she studies art. Growing up, she said, her mom was always talking about aunt Yvonne.

Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Tester is hoping Montanans will give him a narrow victory this fall.

But President Donald Trump isn’t making it easy.

Hotter and drier conditions this summer would negate high snowpacks in the Northern Rockies.
Bureau of Land Management

While Colorado and Utah are prepping for a severe wildfire season this year, Montana, Wyoming and northern Idaho have been counting their lucky stars because all three states had a huge snowpack this season.

“We have the best snowpacks in the country,” said meteorologist Michael Richmond.

When all that snow melts, it’ll keep the forest wet and protected from fire.

However that doesn’t mean the region is free and clear.  Richmond said it may get hotter and drier than usual this summer. A lot of heat and no rain can dry out a forest within a week or two.

Bureau of Land Management / Bureau of Land Management

The U.S. Interior Department wants to repeal an Obama-era rule that reduces the burning of methane gas on federal lands. The public comment period on that plan ended April 23, 2018 and it looks like almost everybody thought it was a bad idea.


The Amerian Prairie Reserve manages nearly 400,000 acres of former ranchland in northeastern Montana. They're kicking out cattle and replacing them with wild bison.
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

  

This is about two very different visions of how we should use land in the American West.

On the Great Plains of Montana, conservationists and tribes want to rewind the clock and return wild bison to the shortgrass prairie. But cowboys and ranchers say if that happens, their way of life – their very culture – will disappear.

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.

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