Rocky Barker is the author of Scorched Earth: How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America. The highly acclaimed book was a finalist for the Western Writers of America's Spur Award in nonfiction.The story has inspired a television movie, Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone on A&E Network starring Scott Foley and Richard Burgi and co-produced by Rocky. His first book,Saving All the Parts, Reconciling Economics and the Endangered Species Act, was published in 1993 also by Island Press. The book was cited for "excellence in achievement," by the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award judges. He co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic.
He is environmental reporter for the Idaho Statesman, where he was a part of a team of reporters chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for their coverage of Senator Larry Craig's arrest. After a trip to China in 2010, Barker wrote a series of articles on our shifting relations with China. He also was the primary researcher for an award-winning series of editorials calling for the breaching of four Snake River dams to save salmon. The team was the first winners of the Dolly Connelly Environmental Journalism Award in 1998. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him with its National Conservation Achievement Award in 1999.
Previously, he was columnist and correspondent-at-large for the Idaho Falls (ID) Post Register. He led the newspaper's team of reporters and editors in its examination of the Endangered Species Act and its effects on the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies. The series was a finalist for the Edward J. Meeman award for environmental journalism. The series also won many state and regional awards.
Barker also was the lead reporter for the Post Register's award-winning coverage of the Yellowstone fires in 1988 and its nationally recognized coverage of nuclear waste problems at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. The 36-year newsroom veteran has covered environmental issues ranging from mining in Wisconsin, acid rain in Canada, rain forest protection in Hawaii, to fish and wildlife conservation in Russia's Far East and Africa.
The Sandwich, Illinois native holds a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from Northland College in Ashland, WI., which awarded him an alumni award for environmental achievement in 1994. Barker also is a fellow of the Knight School of Specialized Journalism at the University of Maryland. He has won four Blethen Awards for journalism excellence from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association.
Barker has been covering environmental and western issues in Idaho since 1985. Previously he was managing editor of the Rhinelander Daily News in Wisconsin. He is syndicated through the Writers on the Range syndicate and has chapters in three books; Living in the Runaway West (Fulcrum Publishers 2000) The Next West, (Island Press 1997) and Writers on the Range(University of Colorado 1998) on forestry, West, and range issues. Barker built, designed and developed Idahonews.com.
He and his wife Tina have two sons and a daughter. They live in Boise, Idaho.