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February 3rd, 2011

There’s an article in Outside Magazine this month by David James Duncan which is an adaptation from The Heart of the Monster. Read the full piece at The High and Wide Industrial Corridor |, and here’s an excerpt:

The single largest petroleum project in the world, the Alberta Tar Sands, sits some 700 miles north of my home in Western Montana, and until recently seemed a foreign and abstract threat. I’m a very busy man, happily employed on a novel-writing project. The crises of the world fade into white noise once I’ve given myself to my work. Sure, I’d heard that the Tar Sands are the single largest energy-consuming project in the world. Sure, Tar Sands carbon-dioxide emissions could quadruple in the next ten years, and have been likened by leading climatologists to an act of war by Canada against itself and every other nation in the world. Sure, forty million acres of pine forests in the North American West have died and turned to tinder thanks to those same CO2 emissions, and yours and mine. But my church consists of trout streams, and trout rise to a fly even among dead trees, so I could still conduct my kind of worship. As I say, I was a busy man.

Then, two years ago, ExxonMobil decided to convert 1,100 miles of beautiful American rivers and roads—including my home rivers and road—into a so-called “High and Wide industrial corridor” connecting the industrialized nations of the Pacific Rim to the Tar Sands.

View a collection of photographs by Frederic Ohringer of the proposed corridor -Montana and Idaho Scenic Byways | – and go to his website to see more of his work.