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Sixth Annual Eccles Family Rural West Conference

Collaboration and Compromise in the Rural American West

Yakima, Washington, March 22-23, 2018

Sixth Eccles Family Rural West Conference, March 2018

Yakima River in Washington. Photo by Scott Butner via Flickr

Yakima River in Washington. Photo by Scott Butner via Flickr

Exploring Collaboration and Compromise

Rural West 2018

The Sixth Eccles Family Rural West Conference is in the books, and a report and complete video from the sessions are in the works. Thanks to our keynote speaker Hilary Franz, our panelists, and everyone who came to Yakima to make the event a success.

Read more about the conference panels


Announcing the Sixth Eccles Rural West Conference in Yakima

The Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University will host the sixth Spence and Cleone Eccles Family Rural West Conference in Yakima, Washington from March 22-23, 2018.

This interdisciplinary conference brings together academics, practitioners, and policymakers to share knowledge and ideas about the Rural West, catalyzing scholarship and solutions to this region’s pressing problems. Each spring, the Center travels to a different state in the West, growing the network of individuals and organizations invested in creative solutions to challenges of rural connectivity, health, environment and economic development.

This year’s event will take the form of a workshop on collaborative governance, and how rural western communities can work together towards environmental sustainability and better health outcomes. We will draw upon local examples of collaborative governance like the Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Plan, and seek to better understand local successes and facilitate dialogue and exchange of best practices across the Rural West.

Panel discussions will include:

  • Challenges and Possibilities in Wildfire Management
  • Toward a Healthier Rural West
  • Perspectives on the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan
  • Models for University-Based Collaborative Governance

Solving environmental and health care problems in the Rural West requires collaboration between different agencies, stakeholders and communities. While this is widely recognized, it is not easy to achieve. This year we will meet in the Yakima Valley to look at collaborative governance efforts in this area and what lessons can be learned for the rest of the western states. 

We welcome you to register on our website. If you have any questions, please contact John Dougherty at
We look forward to seeing you at Rural West 2018!

Rural West Conference Volume

Bridging the Distance

Common Issues of the Rural West

Edited by David B. Danbom

Foreword by David M. Kennedy

Published in cooperation with the Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University
The University of Utah Press has published Bridging the Distance, a book by the Rural West Initiative of the Bill Lane Center for the American West. Edited by the distinguished historian David B. Danbom and with a foreword by Center co-founding director David M. Kennedy, the book explores the Rural West across four dimensions: Community, Land, Economics – and defining the Rural West itself. The book is the result of work presented at the first Conference on the Rural West, which took place in Ogden, Utah, in October 2012.