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.

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RMOWP Conference The Middle Years, Part VI

Article & photos by Jack Olson

Bachelor Syracuse Mine  Tram
Crammed on the Tram at Bachelor Syracuse Mine

Our 21st annual conference took place in Montrose, Colorado, in 1994. At our conferences we have at least one, “don’t miss, don’t oversleep” event. This one had several. One day we experienced a jostling, thrilling jeep ride into Yankee Boy Basin, an iconic high country valley. In that same area, near Ouray, we toured the 1884 Bachelor Syracuse Mine in a rattling tram. We scarfed a packed lunch in a campground high above the town as a bear strolled nonchalantly by. Is that cool, or what? We weren’t done yet and zipped out to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument (it didn’t become a national park until 1999). We’re glad we got there first. We finished the evening with cowboy yarns spun by the fire.

Continue reading RMOWP Conference The Middle Years, Part VI

RMOWP Early Conferences, Part V

Article & photos by Jack Olson

hiking near Manitou Springs
Spring hike near Manitou Springs

Our 17th annual conference in 1990 congregated at Manitou Springs, Colorado, in the shadow of Pikes Peak. But we got out of that shadow in a big, big way, chugging in the cog train to the summit of the peak. At 14,110 feet, this was one of the few times our hardy crew has breathed such thin air. The Air Force Academy sports teams are nicknamed the Falcons. We got to meet real falcons up close and personal, even timidly stroking their feathers. The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is a geologic wonderland and we craned our necks strolling beneath the red rock features. Millions of years ago sequoia trees towered over a volcanic landscape to the west. Eruptions spewed volcanic ash, burying the trees, and remnant fossilized stumps dot the surface of Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.

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Puma IP Cutlery

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RMOWP Early Conferences, Part IV

Article & photos by Jack Olson

train ride to Silverton
Lunch Break in Silverton (Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad)

Back down to the Four Corners area for our 13th annual conference held in the historic town of Durango, Colorado in 1986. We had two 4-star events at this conference. We piled onto the Durango & Silverton narrow gauge railroad for the round trip to Silverton and back. It’s a stunning ride, smoke streaming back from the engine, the San Juan Mountains towering above and the Animas River raging below. On another day we visited the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores and then filled three boats for a cruise on McPhee Reservoir, stopping on shore for a sumptuous and leisurely picnic. A rollicking melodrama at the famous Strater Hotel topped off the conference festivities.

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RMOWP Early Conferences, Part III

Article & photos by Jack Olson

1982 was the last year I missed a conference. Some friends were going to be touring Europe and wanted me to join them. I drew the short straw so I went. But everyone else had a really good time at the conference and missed me, I hoped. The group went to Park City, Utah, the first of two times we would visit that beautiful mountain community. By this time we were scheduling out-of-the-ordinary activities. There was shootin’ trap at Browning Arms, and a tour of their archery factory. Our birders enjoyed the Farmington Wildlife Refuge. A tram ride to dinner at the Snowbird Ski Area topped off the festivities.

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RMOWP Early Conferences, Part II

Article & photos by Jack Olson

1978 continued the trend of spectacular locations for RMOWP’s annual conferences. We set up headquarters at a nice motel right in the heart of Jackson, Wyoming. You could walk to the central park beneath entrances made of elk antlers. Many of the founders of the organization were in attendance. I was lucky, attending my first conference. I knew no one, but everyone knew me right away because the conference committee asked me to put on a program about my trek to Mount Everest the year before. Most members at that time were writers of outdoor columns in newspapers or articles in magazines such as Field and Stream and Sports Afield. Many other early members were editors or book publishers. Photography was mainly an adjunct to illustrate the articles. The conference committee organized outstanding craft improvement sessions, a feature of all subsequent conferences. There was really only one slight misstep. Partly due to inclement weather, we hardly left the motel. The Tetons never saw RMOWP. But the Tetons saw me. I bailed out during board meetings.

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RMOWP Early Conferences, Part I

By Jack Olson

The first years: Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers and Photographers was founded in 1973 by several members of Outdoor Writers Association of America who thought there should be a regional organization of individuals who had similar communication skills and interests. The first annual conference took place in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, in 1974. It was successful and  conferences followed in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Lake Powell, Arizona; and Moab, Utah. Over the 41 consecutive conferences, RMOWP trooped to seven states, with southern locations as far as Tucson, Arizona, and Carlsbad, New Mexico. The most recent conference in 2014 nuzzled the Canadian border at Glacier National Park, Montana.

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