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Destination: West

Photograph by PeteysHead via Wikimedia Commons

Please join us in Park City, Utah, for the seventh annual Eccles Family Rural West Conference from April 5-6, 2019.

Destination: West will be an exploration of how amenity migration and tourism have reshaped rural communities in the American West. Affordability, culture clashes, political divides, and environmental issues will be considered.

Conference registration is now closed. Please contact John J. Dougherty ( if you have questions.

Conference Information


Park City Peaks Hotel
2346 Park Ave, Park City, UT 84060


12:00pm, April 5th – 1:00pm, April 6th
View Full Agenda


Keynote Speakers

Kirk Siegler

NPR National Correspondent

“Reporter’s Notebook: Covering the Rural West”

Greg Thompson

University of Utah Library

“Park City, White Gold, and the Emergence of the Amenity West”



Registration Closed


For Panelists and Moderators

More information


Exploring the Wasatch Front

We’d like to recommend a number of activities for panelists and attendees while in Park City and the Salt Lake City area. This year includes a large slate of events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the “golden spike” connecting the transcontinental railroad at Promontory Summit on May 10, 1869.


Readings: Rural Issues and “the Amenity West”


Commentary: Utah needs to reach across its urban-rural divide, Doris Schmidt, Salt Lake Tribune

The 3 Rural Americas, Richard Florida, CityLab

Natural Resource Amenity Service Values and Impacts in the U.S., Hill, Bergstrom, Cordell, and Bowker, Internal Revenue Service

Spatial Patterns of Migration and Income Change in the Mountain West: The Dominance of Service- Based, Amenity-Rich Counties, J. Matthew Shumway & Samuel M. Otterstrom, The Professional Geographer

Place Matters: Challenges and Opportunities in Four Rural Americas, Lawrence C. Hamilton, Leslie R. Hamilton, Cynthia M. Duncan, Chris R. Colocousis, Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire

Amenity Migrants' Alter Life In Resort Towns, Daniel Kraker, NPR

Sociocultural change facing ranchers in the Rocky Mountain West as a result of mountain resort tourism and amenity migration, Natalie Ooia, Jennifer Laing, Judith Mairc, Journal of Rural Studies

Re-creating the Rural, Reconstructing Nature: An International Literature Review of the Environmental Implications of Amenity Migration, Jesse B. Abrams, Hannah Gosnell, Nicholas J. Gill, Peter J. Klepeis, Conservation & Society

10 Reasons To Live (The Dream) In Park City, Utah, Rob Reed, Forbes

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.