Using three articles from High Country News, discuss issues affecting Utah today. What are the historic roots of the issue? What are the various sides to the issue?

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Your first step in completing this assignment will be taking a close look at the High Country News website and identifying some of the issues the publication focuses on. We notice right away that issues include wildfires, immigration, indigenous affairs, climate, public lands, and water. Further, on the site's front page, we see articles about the homelessness crisis and prairie grasslands.

A quick search for “Utah” in the site's search box reveals articles that are specially focused on or affecting Utah. You should choose three of these, perhaps “Where do public lands factor into the homelessness crisis?”; “National park managers search for answers to overcrowding”; and “There are no clear winners in the West's water wars.” These are just suggestions; be sure to choose articles that interest you.

Now read through each article carefully, making note of the roots of the issue and the various sides of the issue. In the article about overcrowding on public lands, for instance, the issue is too many visitors on public lands, a problem that causes annoying crowds, difficulties with traffic and noise, and potential damage to the lands and attractions. Historically, these lands were set aside as natural refuges that preserve wilderness and natural beauty. On one side of the issue, we have visitors who are looking to get outside and enjoy nature. On the other, there are the park managers who are concerned with safety and conservation.

For the article about homelessness, you can talk about the history of homelessness in Utah and how the crisis has worsened. Those involved in the issue are, of course, the homeless, who cannot afford to pay rent or a mortgage, and the managers of public land who are trying to conserve it and make it available for the use of all people.

Finally, the article about water wars pits people who are especially concerned about water purity, water rights, and the climate against people who overuse and pollute water sources. The article argues that states must make an effort to preserve water sources, and it goes into detail about efforts made in the past before suggesting solutions for today.

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