2020 Conference Still On, We Hope

By Don Laine

RMOWP’s 47th annual conference is scheduled in Alamogordo, New Mexico October 5-8, 2020. However, as we are all aware, the Coronavirus pandemic remains active, causing many 2020 events nationwide to be canceled or postponed.

Snow and dust discolor the gypsum sands of White Sands National Park.
Snow and dust discolor the gypsum sands of White Sands National Park. © William Horton

At this time, Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers & Photographers is taking a wait-and-see position on our October conference.

We hope that you will keep the conference in your plans and on your calendar, but suggest that you don’t make any non-refundable travel or lodging arrangements. We’ll let you know sometime this summer whether the Alamogordo conference will take place as scheduled this year.

The highlight of the conference is to explore White Sands National Park (nps.gov/whsa), which was elevated from national monument status to become America’s 62nd, and newest, national park, last December 20th. We plan a barbecue supper in the and will join a guided sunset walk with a park ranger.

The conference runs from Monday evening through Thursday evening (10/5-8), but a day-and-a-half pre-conference photography workshop with Bill and Kit Horton is planned Sunday and Monday morning (10/4 and 5). See “Take Control of Your Photography” in the January-February newsletter or https://rmowp.org/annual-conference/ for photography workshop details. 

For those who want to see where the world’s first atomic bomb was exploded there is a tour to nearby Trinity Site on Saturday (10/3). Trinity Site, located on White Sands Missile Range, is open to the public only two days a year – the first Saturdays of April and October – and you’ll be taking the tour on your own with a caravan organized by the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce.

But back to the conference itself.

In addition to seeing and shooting White Sands National Park, we’ll go to nearby Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, with both desert scenery and a riparian nature trail, wildlife, a museum, and a restored ranch house. There’s also the remains of an 1800’s cabin, the site of a still-unsolved murder. Other nearby attractions include the Bureau of Land Management’s Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, with over 21,000 ancient petroglyphs; New Mexico Museum of Space History; a small zoo; and a toy train museum.

Workshops are still in the development stage, but we’re expecting to have a panel discussion on the constantly changing world of self-publishing, a program on sand dune photography, a writing workshop to help us bring characters to life, and a program on planning our articles, books, and photo essays. In addition, we’ll have the showcase of selected members’ photography, presentation of contest submissions with winners announced at the banquet, the writers forum, photo critique, and sunrise photo shoot. A tentative schedule is on page 3 of this newsletter and online (https://rmowp.org/).   Conference registration forms are on hold while we wait and watch what happens with the Coronavirus pandemic, but we expect the registration fee to be $50 per person and meals to be similar to recent years.