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.

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.

State of the West 2023: Navigating Borders in North America

With special attention to the U.S.-Mexico border crisis, Stanford's State of the West Symposium assessed the economic and fiscal health of the American West. A joint program with the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, the event featured academic researchers, business and investment practitioners, and other stakeholders concerned with the well-being of western North America.

Photo by Geoff McGhee

Rural West 2023: Human and Ecosystem Health in the Rural West

This year's Rural West Conference explored adaptation strategies for maintaining healthy ecosystems and populations in a changing world. Read our newly published summary of the four fascinating panels. 

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. 

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.

Recent News

In a new era of immigration and trade, the 2023 State of the West Symposium at Stanford addressed how geopolitics could tighten ties between U.S., Mexico and Canada.
The West’s fires and floods of recent years share two common features beyond their immediate harms: they are disasters exacerbated by climate change, and they have wrought havoc with the insurance industry’s barriers against homeowner losses.
Stanford News Service writer Melissa De Witte reflects on her experience scouting trails for and hiking the 22-mile route of "Stanford to the Sea," an annual Bill Lane Center tradition. Except this year, we didn't quite make it to the sea. "Without a sea for Stanford to Sea, what is our story then?" De Witte asks. Click the link for more.

Upcoming Events

Sun July 23rd 2023 - Fri July 28th 2023, All day
The LGSI summer program offers city managers, county executives, regional directors, and other senior local government officials tools for improving…