Wildlife has been the bellwether for Sunset’s visual coverage of environmental issues, and editors use is a variety of approaches to make readers more aware of the imperiled West, such as how progress or degradation is measured.

Hydraulic mining

“‘Piping’ in a hydraulic placer mine in southern Oregon,” long after this destructive practice had been banned in California. While gold rushes come and go, mining for precious metals has always been part of the West. August 1906, p. 139.

Sunset Magazine cover. June 1978
Sunset Magazine cover. February 1979
Sunset Magazine cover. July 1976

Left: 1978 July cover

Center: July 1976 cover. Sunset staff were very involved in the design and development of the urban park in Portland, Oregon, shown on this cover. (photo: Glenn Christiansen)

Right: February 1979 cover. A solar-heated Colorado home graces the cover of the this issue, which focused on this alternate form of energy. (photo: Glenn Christiansen)

Sharp-shinned hawk
Trumpeter swans

Left: “Sharp-shinned hawk, above, kinglet and bushtit, below, are banded for migration and lifespan studies.” Readers learn about the study and conservation of Western wildlife, a persistent thread over the years. April 1978, p. 61.(photo: David Stubbs)

Right: “Rare trumpeter swans, so white they glisten, but with shiny black bills, glide silently across a pond. These were transplanted from wild bird refuge in Montana as experimental project.” Awareness of nature fostered through pictures. March 1958, p. 45.

Study of Lake Tahoe water quality

The scientific study of Lake Tahoe water quality is one aspect of a complex and contentious issue with conflicting conservancy, property, public access, and recreational issues, each addressed in Sunset’s coverage. June 1978, p. 92. (photos: Charles R. Goldman/Robert C. Richards)