Ernest H. Linford, a former Salt Lake Tribune editorial writer and author of a weekly environmental column, died Tuesday at Ivinson Memorial Hospital of heart and kidney failure. He was 81.

Mr. Linford, whose journalism career spanned six decades, was an editorial writer for The Tribune from 1948 to 1967. From Salt Lake City, he returned to his native Wyoming to join the University of Wyoming as head of its journalism department.He retired from academics in 1977, but continued writing on a variety of environmental topics for the Laramie Republican Boomerang and The Tribune, which published him weekly on the Monday editorial page.

During his career, Mr. Linford received many awards, including the "Courage in Journalism" award from Sigma Delta Chi in 1945; a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University in 1946; Conservation Service Award of the American Forestry Association in 1953, and the University of Utah Service to Journalism Award in 1981.