Issue 13: Sustainable Outdoor Tourism

Western Confluence magazine, a publication of the Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming, seeks story ideas for our issue on developing sustainable outdoor recreation and tourism in the West. The magazine explores complex natural resource challenges and shares sound, interdisciplinary, collaborative solutions.

What we are looking for

The next issue of Western Confluence, slated to release stories throughout 2023, will explore ideas for how communities in the West can enhance their quality of life, economic opportunity, and environmental integrity by developing outdoor recreation and tourism.

  • How does burgeoning outdoor recreation and tourism change life in western towns? What are the environmental, social, and economic benefits—and impacts—of developing outdoor recreation and tourism, and how might communities balance those?
  • What innovative and successful approaches, policies, and strategies can help communities build robust outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities while avoiding some of the problems that may come with booming tourism?
  • What are examples of communities that have developed new recreation and tourism opportunities, while holding onto valued qualities and character amidst change?

This issue should explore a wide range of outdoor recreation and tourism forms—motorized and not, technical and simple, historic and modern—and their impacts on communities and environments. We are looking for cutting edge innovations and management strategies for developing thriving and sustainable recreation and tourism based economies. We’re also interested in how communities might protect valued qualities such as small-town life, affordable cost-of-living, solitude, wildlife, open spaces, and or other features as they develop outdoor recreation and tourism.

We want to hear the voices of ski instructors, hunting guides, dude ranchers, artists, and river runners, as well as city managers, business owners, nonprofit employees, policy makers, and economists who are wrestling with the growing pains around outdoor tourism.

Deadline to submit for priority consideration in issue 13 is November 28, 2022, though we may consider additional ideas on a rolling basis after that date depending on how our production calendar is looking. Stories will be released monthly online throughout 2023 and in a print edition in early 2024.

How it works

To write for the magazine, please email a story pitch describing the angle your piece would take and the reporting approaches you intend to employ to Pitches should be no longer than 500 words and should clarify why the story will matter to Western Confluence readers.

We also welcome story concepts from scientists, researchers, managers, policy makers, and other engaged citizens including tips, names of contacts, links to scholarly papers, or other leads that we can develop into a story. We will consider assigning those to a reporter/writer, who may wish to reach out to you as a source for the article.

Western Confluence editors and advisors will discuss and answer all pitches. For those we’d like to pursue, an editor will work with the writer to hone the approach to the story.

  • If your pitch is accepted, we’ll meet to discuss your angle and story approach. We’ll also agree on a word count and deadline for the first draft.
  • Write your draft and send it to us on time and near the agreed-upon word count. Be patient, and willing to work through several rounds of edits to make sure the story fits the magazine and is as clear and compelling for readers as it can be.
  • Before publication, you will need to fact check. This includes sending parts (but not all) of the story to your sources to ensure that you have presented the information and their voices accurately, double-checking your numbers and data, or asking an expert to review a paragraph or concept.
  • You are not responsible for all the graphics, illustrations, or photos that will accompany your article, but if you have good ideas for what to include, work with us to get access to those materials. We are always happy to connect with photographers, artists, and graphic designers who might be interested in publishing their work in our magazine.
  • Enjoy seeing your work published and share it widely!

If you are an employee of a public institution for whom a contribution to Western Confluence fulfills part of your professional duties, we will not provide compensation for the article. If you are a student, a freelance journalist, or a contributor of another sort, we will pay you $0.50-$1.00/word for the story depending on your writing experience and skill and the complexity of the story.

All Western Confluence articles go through several rounds of editing to bring them in line with our style. Writers should expect an extensive revision process.

Please direct all questions, pitches, and ideas to