Welcome to the Bill Lane Center for the American West

Dedicated to advancing scholarly and public understanding of the past, present, and future of western North America, the Center supports research, teaching, and reporting about western land and life

Lane Center student researchers investigate salient challenges facing the West

In 2022, we’re pleased to welcome 16 RAs into the Lane Center family, with projects addressing climate change, water conservation, the energy transition, tribal justice, tourism, and more.

Bruce Cain and Iris Hui sitting side by side

Bill Lane Center Director Bruce Cain with Senior Researcher Iris Hui

Remembering Iris Hui

We mourn the loss of our beloved colleague, mentor and friend, Iris Hui.

From left to right, Hope Eccles, Eve Lilley, and Bill Lilley

From left to right, Hope Eccles, Eve Lilley, and Bill Lilley

Remembering Bill Lilley

The Lane Center remembers Bill Lilley, a charter member of our Advisory Council, whose commitment, generosity and creativity represented unparalleled contributions to the Council’s work and the Center

wildfire smoke over the Golden Gate Bridge

Image credit: Christopher Michel

Practical tips to mitigate harm from wildfire smoke

Lane Center researchers and partners offer tips for staying safe from the smoke during wildfire season.

Photo by Phanatic via Flickr

Ninth Annual Eccles Family Rural West Conference

This year, our Rural West Conference takes up the theme of “Human and Ecosystem Health in the Rural West." On April 1, we'll be in Fort Collins, Colorado, to address the challenges of rural policy, health, and environment with top academics, practitioners, and policymakers. 

Apply today for Sophomore College on the Columbia River

Our sophomore college course, "River and Region: The Columbia River and the Shaping of the Pacific Northwest," is now accepting applications. Students who participate in this SoCo seminar will travel widely throughout the Columbia basin in September of 2023, visiting water and energy facilities and regulatory agencies. Professors David Freyberg and David Kennedy will instruct.

collage of 9 photos of Lane Center people, events and courses

2022: A Year in Review

It was an abundant and meaningful year for us at the Bill Lane Center. Check out our year-end letter to learn about the return of Sophomore College and Rural West, our spring hike to the sea, some wonderful new staff members, original research and reporting, and more. Happy holidays and happy trails from all of us to all of you.

Julia Simon and Janet Wilson headshots

Julia Simon (left) and Janet Wilson, 2022-2023 Western Media Fellows

Announcing our 2022-2023 Western Media Fellows

The Bill Lane Center has selected Janet Wilson and Julia Simon as recipients of this year's Western Media Fellowship, which provides support for journalists illuminating critical issues about the American West.

Recent News

Private citizens were first on the scene to document a massive die-off in Oakland’s Lake Merritt. Their role was enabled by the internet observation tool iNaturalist.
Two new national monuments in the West; a Colorado ski haven using AI to get faster information about wildfire development; a 24-armed sea star that helps protect kelp forests may go extinct; a new system for rating atmospheric river strength; Yellowstone’s obsidian cliff offers a window on indigenous engineering, and more environmental news from the West.
Experts believe the Chinese balloon downed over the Atlantic coast this month was snooping on U.S. missile defenses. Part of the landscape for a half-century, they are headed for a costly refresh in an era of rising global tensions.

Upcoming Events

Tue April 11th 2023, 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Speaker: Katherine Cheng, Craig Thomas
Mon April 24th 2023, 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Speaker: Andrés Reséndez
Thu May 4th 2023, 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Speaker: Thomas Andrews