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Conference to explore future of community, rural landscapes and wildlands

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Pictured is Livingston, one of many communities throughout the Greater Yellowstone that continue to experience pressures from growth and a changing climate. This will be the topic of the June conference “Sustaining the New West: Bold Visions – Inspiring Actions.” PHOTO BY JOHN ZUMPANO


This June, Bozeman nonprofit Future West will host a unique regional conference that explores the future of the American West.

“Growth and change are inevitable,” said Future West Director Dennis Glick. “They can happen by design, or by default. It’s time that we recognize this reality and begin to identify our vision for the future and the actions needed to make it a reality.”

Conservationists, elected officials, rural landowners, business leaders, land managers, developers and many others will gather for a daylong exploration of the potential future of our towns, working landscapes and wildlands. The conference, which is called “Sustaining the New West: Bold Visions – Inspiring Actions,” will take place June 5 at Bozeman’s Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture.

The event will put a spotlight on growth trends in the Northern Rockies and offer alternative visions for how we develop and conserve this region. The conference will also highlight examples from around the West of successful efforts to plan for and achieve sustainable conservation and development on a regional scale.

The speaker lineup includes founding member of the Blackfoot Challenge, rancher Denny Iverson; Lain Leoniak, former Bozeman Water Conservation Specialist and current Assistant Attorney General for Colorado; renowned conservation biologist Dr. David Theobald; Mayor of Canmore, Alberta, John Borrowman; Teton County, Idaho, Commissioner Cindy Riegel; Devin Middlebrook from the Lake Tahoe Regional Planning Agency; Dr. Aerin Jacobs from the Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative; and Robert Liberty, architect of Oregon’s land-use planning system.

These speakers will share their perspectives on options for creating a future that conserves our natural and cultural values, while also creating sustainable and equitable communities.

This is the second “Sustaining the New West” conference. The first focused primarily on the impacts of growth, development and climate change on the future of the region. At this second gathering, individuals who have been deeply engaged in these issues in the Northern Rockies will offer alternative future scenarios. Their presentations will be followed by people from other regions who will share lessons they have learned while working on sustainability issues on a landscape-wide—if not statewide—scale.

Glick said he looks forward to the conference, guaranteeing that it will be “a thought-provoking and provocative day that will help us to chart a course for a brighter future for this region.”

Visit or contact Hannah Jaicks by email at for more information and to register. Lunch is included with registration and a reception will follow.

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