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

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.

2021 Research Assistant Faces

Lane Center student researchers investigate salient challenges facing the West

In 2021, we’re pleased to welcome 20 RAs into the Lane Center family, with projects spanning climate change, public policy, health and other important issues in the American West.

Map of California's reservoirs

Graphic by Geoff McGhee

Does drought-prone California need another reservoir?

Explore a new interactive map in our online magazine, And the West, to view the capacity of 158 California reservoirs. 

mountains and a small town, Pocatello, Idaho

Pocatello, Idaho, site of the 2022 Rural West Conference. Photo by Kate Gibson.

Highlights from the 2022 Eccles Family Rural West Conference

In Pocatello, Idaho, scholars and practitioners explored solutions to climate and economic challenges in the rural West.

hikers pose for a photo on the beach with blue sky in the background

Friends of the Bill Lane Center hike from Stanford to the Sea

On Saturday, April 30, 2022, the Lane Center brought back its Stanford to the Sea hike, taking a group on a 22-mile trek from Jasper Ridge to Gregorio State Beach. 

a tram in Switzerland

A tram approaches a stop near the Genève-Cornavin railway station in Switzerland. Photo by Tim Adams via Flickr.


Improving California transit can make for a healthier and more sustainable region as a whole

Our recent conference with Seamless Bay Area sought to apply best practices from Switzerland to our own transportation ecosystem.

Recent News

Above, Shasta Dam under construction in 1944. The 600 foot tall structure created California’s largest reservoir on the upper Sacramento River. U.S.
Colorado river reservoirs at historic lows; southwestern cities adapt to water shortages; nearly 100% of California’s energy demand supplied by renewable energy for one day; Pacific native representatives call for a UN investigation into Hawaiian oil spill; and other recent environmental reads.
This year's Rural West Conference took place on April 8 and 9 in Pocatello, Idaho, where three engaging panels explored regional issues related to wildfire, the future of ranching, and water.

Upcoming Events

Wed June 1st 2022, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Speaker: Bruce Cain, Francis Fukuyama, Jonathan Mehta Stein, Patrick Murphy, Louise W. Bedsworth, Karthick Ramakrishnan
A panel discussion to commemorate California 100's release of the Future of Governance, Fiscal Reform and Federalism