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Articles written by John Clayton


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  • You're Not the Boss in Wilderness

    JOHN CLAYTON, Writers on the Range|Feb 21, 2024

    When my friends and I encountered the fresh grizzly bear scat, we were deep in Wyoming’s Teton Wilderness, 20 miles from a trailhead. I’d seen grizzlies before—from the car. But this experience was on a whole other level. I felt vulnerable, nervous. I also felt fully alive. That feeling owes much to the Wilderness Act, which became law 60 years ago, in 1964. When President Lyndon B. Johnson created a nationwide system of wild landscapes “untrammeled by man,” it gave physical expression to an unusual attitude toward land. The attitude could be...

  • Some People Just Like To Get Things Done

    JOHN CLAYTON, Writers on the Range|Apr 19, 2023

    Although I’ve lived in a small Western town for 30 years now, I have never known much about one of its fundamental institutions, the service club. Many small-town residents still center their lives on Lions, Elks, Rotary, or similar organizations. Not me: I’m not a joiner. Yet as our national culture moves farther away from such settings for broad discussions, I worry that I’m part of the problem. A while ago when I was asked to speak at our local Rotary Club, I hesitated, picturing white guys networking with each other and complaining about...