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The By Land Podcast

#144 - The Modern West with Melodie Edwards

The By Land Podcast
The By Land Podcast

Melodie Edwards is the host and senior producer of the Modern West Podcast which dives into the history of the west, and how it’s shaped our landscapes and modern culture while digging up little-known facts about the past. The show is produced for Wyoming Public Media (aka the state’s NPR station) which is now going into its 5th season so for me, it was great to connect with someone who is doing some really great work out there. Being a podcast producer isn’t the only thing Melodie is though. She’s a bookstore owner and writer, all of which we get into in this episode.

Melodie is on the show to explore this weird crossroad between the past and the present regarding how we as backpackers and hikers interact with the landscape. For example, for anyone who isn’t from the west, or specifically the Montana/Wyoming area, there are a lot of really large ranches in some very beautiful places and those ranches often graze cattle on land that you and I might hike through. So, you could be hiking along and bump into a cow or two, OR maybe you can’t access certain areas because it’s a private ranch.

As the producer of the Modern West Podcast and doing her investigative work on topics like this, Melodie is joining the show to help enlighten or educate me (us), on where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going. This podcast isn’t always about something clearly related to backpacking. I’d miss out on opportunities like this one to further educate myself on things like land access and the modernization of the west. To me, it’s conversations like this one that allows me to look at things through a different lens so that when I’m out there enjoying myself, I know what the heck I’m benefitting from or how it even came to be.

As I said, it’s a lot and Melodie is here to help me begin to sort it all out.

Show Notes and Links

  • Melodie’s background
  • The history of the cowboy in the west
  • The impact that cattle ranchers have had on the landscape
  • How we got to where we are today with the modern landscapes
  • How cattle did on the landscape
  • Finding a balance
  • Finding common ground
  • Closing thoughts


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