Hello RMOWP Family!

White Sands National Park; sunset
Sunset from White Sands National Park © 2009 William Horton

I hope that you are all healthy and as happy as possible in these strange times. 

It has now been more than half a year since the Coronavirus Pandemic first hit the news and upended our lives, and despite some of the misinformation being distributed on social media, we don’t know how or when this will end.

RMOWP’s plan is to continue our normal activities as much as possible 

You’ll continue to get the newsletter every other month and we’ll work hard adding updates to the website, www.rmowp.org, between newsletters. Also, be sure to check out RMOWP’s Instagram presence, @outdoorwritersandphotogs from your smartphone and https://www.instagram.com/outdoorwritersandphotogs/ from your computer.

As you know, it was necessary to postpone this year’s conference in Alamogordo, New Mexico, home of America’s newest national park, White Sands. We have tentatively re-scheduled the Alamogordo conference to fall of 2021 and bumped the planned conference in Fort Davis, Texas, from 2021 to 2022.

However, New Mexico has some of the strictest Coronavirus restrictions in the country, and although they seem to be working – New Mexico has had fewer cases and deaths than many other states – if the restrictions continue we may have to look for another place to go in 2021. 

Regardless of where we go in 2021, we may need to adjust the way we organize our conferences – more outdoor activities, a larger meeting room to allow better social distancing, served rather than buffet meals, and probably some things we haven’t thought of yet.

Longtime RMOWP member Jack Olson, who, as many of you know has hiked and photographed practically every square inch of Colorado, wants us to consider Steamboat Springs in northwestern Colorado, for a conference sometime in the next few years. This community of about 12,000 people has a ski resort with a gondola providing scenic rides, numerous hot springs, an historic downtown, a community college, wildlife, a botanic garden, horseback riding, a spectacular waterfall, and great mountain scenery. There’s a walking trail along the Yampa River, and about 25 miles west is the Nature Conservancy’s Carpenter Ranch, a working cattle ranch and renowned birding destination. Yet, Steamboat Springs’ elevation is only 6,728 feet above sea level, lower than Santa Fe and most of the Colorado locales of recent conferences. 

So, although at this time Alamogordo, New Mexico is the place to go in 2021, we’re keeping our options and our eyes open.

Stay tuned! And stay well.
Don Laine, RMOWP Executive Director