Rural West 2015
The 2015 Rural West Conference was held in Troutdale, Oregon, a town situated at the gateway to the Columbia Gorge—like many of us, it has one foot in an urban area and one foot in a rural one. The conference's theme was "Preservation and Transformation: The Future of the Rural West." Through panels on economic vitality, crime and policing, youth, culture, land use, and the availability of services in the rural West, we addressed questions such as: What is distinct about the rural West? What should be preserved, and why? And how can we transform the rural West for the better without sacrificing the things that make the region so unique?
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Informal Welcome Reception and Data Visualization Talk
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Panel 1: Fewer People Means Less Crime...Right? The Unique Challenges of Policing the Rural West
Panel 2: Whose Land Is It, Anyway? Perspectives on Land Protection and Access in the 21st Century
Panel 3: Beyond Barren Farms and Empty Houses: The Rural Western Economy, Past, Present and Future
Panel 4: Smart Phones and Hay Bales: Generation Z's Future in the Rural West
Dinner and Keynote
This year's keynote speaker is William Wyckoff, author of How to Read the American West: A Field Guide (University of Washington Press, 2014). The book uses maps, photographs, and historical anecdotes to highlight 100 different landscape features of the American West and discuss their impact on, and integration with, human existence. Highly interdisciplinary, the book touches on aspects of the West from dry lakes to dude ranches and Los Alamos to Las Vegas. Wyckoff's keynote will share his motivations for writing the book and what he learned about the West while he was doing it.
A native of Southern California, Wyckoff is a Professor of Geography in the Department of Earth Sciences at Montana State University. His research focuses on the historical and cultural geography of the American West, and he has authored other books on geography and landscape evolution, including On the Road Again: Montana's Changing Landscape (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2006) and Creating Colorado: The Making of a Western Landscape, 1860-1940 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999).