Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Connecting curious minds with uncommon, undeniably Northwest reads

To Think Like a Mountain

Environmental Challenges in the American West

Niels S. Nokkentved

$28.95

In the West, shortsighted self-interest resulted in devastating environmental losses. Niels S. Nokkentved hopes writing about these issues encourages people to think like a mountain and consider long-term consequences. His insightful essays examine cultural conflicts over resource extraction, threats to watersheds, wolf recovery, effects of livestock grazing, and vanishing sage grouse. Other themes include the value of forest fires and beavers, failed promises of salmon hatcheries, reasons behind the region’s timber industry decline, and how unlikely allies resolved long-standing disputes.

“An excellent primer on the nature of environmental issues in the American West. A read through all of the cases he explores reveals the importance and complexity of challenges we face.”—National Parks Traveler

Illustrations / maps / notes / bibliography / index / 258 pages (2019)

Clear

Description

In the West, shortsighted human self-interest has resulted in devastating environmental losses. The fur trade decimated beaver populations, and streams and wetland ecosystems deteriorated. Though most mining ceased by the late 1920s, water running from the Pacific Mine nearly a century later still carried ten times the lead level standard set by the federal Clean Water Act. Where grazing depleted native bunchgrasses, fire-prone cheatgrass grew in its place. Migrating from Idaho streams, salmon once reached the ocean in ten to fourteen days. Now it takes fifty or more. In 2016, a snowstorm blew a flock of snow geese off course. They landed on contaminated water, and about three thousand died.

 Author Niels S. Nokkentved takes a fresh look at environmental challenges affecting Northwest residents. His essays examine cultural conflicts over resource extraction, threats to watersheds from abandoned mines, wolf recovery in the northern Rocky Mountains, the lingering effects of livestock grazing on western rangelands, and the rapidly disappearing sage grouse. They discuss the importance of forest fires, the value of beavers, the failed promises of salmon hatcheries, the reasons behind the decline of the timber industry in the Pacific Northwest, and how unlikely allies learned to set aside their differences in order to resolve long-standing disputes.

Nokkentved’s goal is to encourage people to think like a mountain—in other words, to consider the long-term consequences. He shares his connection to each concern as well as his own evidence-based perspective. He believes that it most profits society—collectively and as individuals—when people respect the balance of nature, and he wants to draw others to the same conclusion.

Niels S. Nokkentved has won awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists, and a C. B. Blethen award for distinguished investigative journalism. He spent twenty years as a newspaper reporter and eight years as a writer, photographer, and editor for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. He is the author of three other books.

“Showcases an author deeply devoted to the preservation of the natural world…This book should be particularly valuable to anyone interested in the decision-making process governing these areas, as Nokkentved’s reporting is well researched and documented.”—Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

“Nokkentved does an exceptional job of translating the scientific and political debate about some of the West’s major public lands issues.”—George Wuerthner, author of Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy

“An excellent primer on the nature of environmental issues in the American West. A read through all of the cases he explores reveals the importance and complexity of challenges we face.”—National Parks Traveler

Illustrations / maps / notes / bibliography / index / 258 pages (2019)

Recognition

“An excellent primer on the nature of environmental issues in the American West. A read through all of the cases he explores reveals the importance and complexity of challenges we face.”—John Miles, National Parks Traveler

“Niels Sparre Nokkentved’s book, To Think Like a Mountain, Environmental Challenges in the American West, showcases an author deeply devoted to the preservation of the natural world. Although the book’s title may suggest a philosophical treatment of wilderness values, the coverage is oriented more toward case studies of conflict between possible uses of wildlands in parts of the Western United States. This book should be particularly valuable to anyone interested in the decision-making process governing these areas, as Nokkentved’s reporting is well researched and documented..”—Gary S. Silverman, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

“What is especially good about this book is that you get a complete, well-researched, and fascinating chronology of each issue…By the end of each chapter you have a real understanding of the issues involved. And as you continue, you’ll begin to see how many of these issues are interwoven, one affecting the other…As a life-long environmentalist with an education in wildlife biology, I was surprised how much I learned in each chapter and I’m sure I’ll refer to this book many times in the future.”—Crista Worthy, Golden Eagle Audubon Society

“Nokkentved does an exceptional job of translating the scientific and political debate about some of the West’s major public lands issues.”—George Wuerthner, author of Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy

“Niels Nokkentved has been an astute observer and reporter of western natural resource and public lands issues for years. In To Think Like A Mountain he covers the landscape like few others have: the battle for Alaska, wolves, sage grouse, grazing, wildfire, forest, salmon, the list is impressive, the discussion the same. The book also is rich with details; of the people who played oversized roles in western land battles as well as being readable and understandable to anyone interested in knowing the truth behind Wallace Stegner’s observation that ‘the battlegrounds of the environmental movement lie in the western public lands.'”—John Freemuth, Cecil D. Andrus Endowed Chair for Environment and Public Lands, Boise State University

Additional information

Dimensions 6 x 9 in
Format

Paperback