Nate Hegyi

Nate is UM School of Journalism reporter. He reads the news on Montana Public Radio three nights a week.

U.S. Senate committees will hold hearings this week on the Trump administration's plan to reorganize the government. It includes a department that manages millions of acres of public lands in our region.

A bipartisan group of indigenous state lawmakers just published a letter condemning the President’s use of the name “Pocahontas” in a recent Montana rally. They say it hurts the already-wounded image of Native American women.

A controversy over the names of two landmarks in Yellowstone National Park highlight a forgotten genocide in the U.S. and how historical awareness, conflicting narratives and misinformation help muddy the waters.


At Thursday’s Montana rally, President Donald Trump repeatedly called Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.” Montana is home to eight tribal nations and more than 60,000 Native Americans.  

There’s a storm rolling in over the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana. The clouds are low and dark as distant lightning cracks over a green prairie. 

Wade Running Crane is starting to get wet.

“This is like a sign from Ashley that she’s here,” he said.

A federal watchdog group is looking into U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s family land deal with an oil executive. But Zinke is calling the controversy fake news.

U.S Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke explained the abrupt departure of Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk on the radio show Montana Talks Wednesday. The incoming superintendent is military veteran Cameron Sholly.

Ranking U.S. House Democrats are calling for an ethics investigation into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. They want to know more about a land deal between Zinke's family foundation and a real estate project with ties to the oil and gas giant Halliburton.

Ranking U.S. House Democrats are calling for an ethics investigation into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. They want to know more about a land deal between Zinke’s family foundation and a real estate project with ties to the oil and gas giant Halliburton.


As more people move into the West, interactions between humans and bears have increased. Now Yellowstone National Park is asking visitors to help save bears by honking at them.

This year’s federal firefunding fix brought a sigh of relief among many in the Mountain West.

It will pump billions of dollars into firefighting efforts over the next decade. But not all wildfires are fought by the federal government.  

Many are fought at the state level with dwindling state funds.  

6:30 a.m. is one of the best times to watch wildlife in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley.

Everything smells like sage. It’s really cold and there are a bunch of retirees staring through hire-powered telescopes at a lush, verdant hill.

A new study published in Science magazine found that many of the world’s trout species are facing extinction due to climate change, overfishing and pollution.

A federal watchdog group said the U.S. Interior Department didn’t give an adequate reason for cancelling a study on the health impacts of coal mining last year.

NPS photo by Neal Herbert

The Trump administration is forcing the head of Yellowstone National Park out of his job. Dan Wenk said the National Park Service will replace him with a new superintendent this August.

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk
NPS Public Domain

In somewhat of a surprise move, Dan Wenk, the head of Yellowstone National Park announced his retirement Friday amidst speculation he was being reassigned for political reasons. The Mountain West News Bureau’s Nate Hegyi spoke with him over the phone about his retirement and his potential reassignment.

The head of Yellowstone National Park says he plans to retire next March, ending a more than four decade run with the National Park Service. The surprise announcement came after speculation he was being reassigned for political reasons.

Climate change is expected to exacerbate wildfires, drought and flooding throughout the Mountain West. Some cities are looking at how these changes will affect their town and how they can prepare.

Yellowstone National Park is moving forward with a plan to help create new herds of wild, genetically-pure bison across the country.

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

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.”

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 said they’ve lost a small amount of weapons-grade plutonium. Federal officials aren’t pleased.

  

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.

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.

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.


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