A year ago I spent a week in the southern Utah wilderness, hiking all day on dry washes without human footprints, red cliffs rising above me. Never have I felt so fully happy to be alone, sitting in shade, drinking water from my pack. Since then I can’t get the desert out of my consciousness, and I feed this small obsession by reading about it in magazines.
Bimonthly tabloid The Canyon Country Zephyr is edited and published by former Arches National Park ranger Jim Stiles. From Moab, Utah, an overgrown town whose population burgeons with tourists, each issue of the Zephyr contains articles and commentary on southeastern Utah’s economy and environment, from cattle grazing to wilderness "development." A primer for people anywhere concerned about public land use, it’s got character all its own, with ads for local businesses accompanied by Stiles’ caricatures of the owners. Subscriptions: $15 (6 issues) from Box 327, Moab, UT 84532
Bimonthly Mountain Gazette, winner of last year’s Utne Reader Alternative Press Award for best regional publication, offers local flavor from a number of communities in the Mountain West. Featuring brash opinions, ribald essays, and obituaries for everything from defunct bars to dead cars, the oversized magazine always entertains. An anthology of writings from past issues, When in Doubt, Go Higher, was published last year, featuring the likes of Ed Abbey and Charles Bowden. Subscriptions: $25 (12 issues) from 5355 Montezuma Rd., Montezuma, CO 80435;
Redrock Wilderness, the magazine-sized quarterly newsletter of the nonprofit Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, provides details on political struggles to protect wild land from oil and gas drilling, off-road vehicle use, road building, and other human incursions. Memberships: $30 (4 issues) from 1471 S. 1100 E., Salt Lake City, UT 84105