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

canyons and trees

What is the Bill Lane Center?

Learn more about the founding of the Bill Lane Center, Stanford University's academic hub for regional study of western land and life.

A map of the United States west of the 100th meridian

What is the West?

Our definition of the American West is expansive and takes into account the many dimensions of the region, from those rooted in geography to those rooted in the cultural and literary imagination. 

Attention recent grads: We're hiring!

The Bill Lane Center for the American West is seeking a recent graduate to join its team as a full-time program associate supporting the Center’s undergraduate programs and many events throughout the year.

Black and white photo of Brandon Kapelow, standing in front of an empty field, looking off into the distance

Photo courtesy of Brandon Kapelow

The Lane Center selects Brandon Kapelow as its 2024 Western Media Fellow

Our newest Media Fellow will pursue a project illuminating why western regions have the country's highest suicide rates. And our 2023 Media Fellow publishes new work revealing the identities of 20 California farmers who get more Colorado River water than entire states.

The Bill Lane Center and colleagues release joint survey findings on transgender legislation and policies

A new report examines the attitudes and opinions of Arizona, California and Texas residents regarding restrictive legislation and policies related to the transgender population. The report finds that residents of blue California, red Texas and purple Arizona generally do not support more rights for transgender people.

2023 interns embark on summer adventures

Our 2023 intern cohort has launched. Nineteen "West" interns and seven Shultz Fellows make up this summer's talented and passionate group of students dedicated to supporting a thriving American West.

a group of hikers stand and kneel in a redwood forest for a photo with tall redwoods behind them

Stanford to the Sea 2023

On Saturday, May 20, the Bill Lane Center hosted its annual 22-mile trek from Stanford to the Sea. Traditionally, the route winds from its starting point at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve through Wunderlich County Park, continues along Bear Gulch Road and the Skyline Trail before catching the Purisima trail downhill to shuttles for San Gregorio State Beach.

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. 

Recent News

A keystone species slowly disappears from the Yukon; Cuyama Valley, California farmers boycott Big Carrot; a pond turns pink in Maui; environmentalists oppose an Alaskan Arctic oil drilling project; direct-air carbon capture arrives in the Central Valley; pikas return to the Columbia Gorge; and other environmental news from around the American West.
Advisory Council Member Nancy Pfund and colleagues author a new paper exploring the benefits of prescribed burns, highlighting how new technologies in wildfire mitigation, vegetation management, and forestry can help prevent catastrophic fire. The paper also investigates how a variety of innovative funding models could be harnessed to dramatically scale the ability to use prescribed burns safely and effectively in the future.

Photo courtesy of Brandon Kapelow

Every year, the Bill Lane Center awards a $5,000 fellowship to support a journalist illuminating crucial issues about the American West. We are proud to announce Brandon Kapelow as our 2023-2024 Western Media Fellow, and the publication of new work by last year's fellow, Janet Wilson.

Upcoming Events

Tue December 5th 2023, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Speaker: Luisa Rapport
In the series, we will hear from a spectrum of researchers, decision makers, and industry experts on some important issues and challenges related…