An impressive group of presenters has been assembled for the first CWC Wind River Outdoor Writers Conference.


A blind adventurer, Erik Weihenmayer, who has climbed the summit of the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, is the keynote speaker for Central Wyoming College’s first Wind River Outdoor Writers Conference. His presentation is at Lander Valley High School Auditorium on August 25 at 7 p.m. and the public is invited. He is a world-class athlete and climber and an inspirational speaker who brings unique power to the conference as the keynote speaker on Saturday evening. Weihenmayer is the author of “Touch the Top of the World” and was honored as the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2011 inspirational Person of the Year.


Michael Lanza is a freelance writer and photographer, Northwest Editor of Backpacker Magazine, and creator of His latest book, Before They're Gone—A Family's Year-Long Quest to Explore America's Most Endangered National Parks, is about taking his young son and daughter on wilderness adventures in national parks threatened by climate change. He has written magazine stories about adventure travels on four continents and topics as diverse as record floods at Mt. Rainier, the controversy over snowmobiles in Yellowstone, and the impacts of climate change on Glacier National Park and other wild lands. His articles about global warming helped Backpacker earn a National Magazine Award for general excellence in 2008.

With over 30 years in the book industry, Max Phelps has managed book stores in Philadelphia, and served as vice president of sales and marketing for a leading book wholesaler in the eastern US. During the past 15 years, he has been associated with FalconGuides, as Eastern Regional Sales Manager, Director of Sales and Marketing, and more recently, under the Globe Pequot Press umbrella, as Director of Marketing & Sales Development for the Outdoor Industry. In addition to FalconGuides, Globe Pequot publishes books under several other imprints, including the Lyons Press, TwoDot, Skirt and Western Horseman books. Globe also distributes books from several other publishers including Appalachian Mountain Club Books, Footprint and Globetrotter.  Max has managed relationships with book customers as varied as Barnes & Noble, REI and The Boy Scouts of America.


Shelli Johnson is a writer and blogger, entrepreneur, consultant, strategist, speaker, life/leadership coach and adventure guide who hails from the frontier of Wyoming. She is also a wife and a mother. In 1994, Shelli, with the help of her husband, Jerry, and her parents, started Yellowstone Journal Corporation and NationalParkTrips. Over the course of 15 years, she and her small team (organically) grew the company, including the Webby Award-winning Shelli’s main blog is, where she has published 200 posts. One of Shelli’s passions is live-blogging ("life streaming")-- using social media like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and her blog to document the important events and experiences of her life, as well as opinions about things, in words, photos, videos and other forms. 


William Forgey, MD is the founder and past director of ICS Books, and author of dozens of outdoor books. A family practice physician in Indiana, Forgey founded a program called Medical Student Missions which often takes medical students into countries in need of health care. He is the former president of the Wilderness Medical Society and has written books on wilderness medicine.


Colin Keeney is the former director of the Wyoming Writer Project and a senior lecturer for the University Of Wyoming Department of English. His published works include “Owen Wister’s Missing Manuscript,” The Roundup, 2002, “Teaching Writing to Engineering Students” AEE Journal, 1999 and “Correspondence Study: ENGK 4010,” UW Outreach, 1994. He holds a Bachelor’s of Arts and a Master of Arts from the University of Wyoming and has an interest in American political theory, music and travel.


As the editor of Backpacker magazine’s skills and survival departments, Kristy Holland is a master at producing service-packed stories catering to the outdoor-enthusiast audience. She’s also a master at sifting out story ideas that’ll stand out in the hard-to-break world of outdoor adventure writing. Her magazine career started with short stints at regional magazines—Portland Monthly, Key West, and Chicago magazines—before she settled into a role as the Midwest regional coordinator for Backpacker’s award-winning interactive mapping project in 2007. Before returning to Backpacker full-time in 2011, she spent time redesigning Women’s Adventure magazine as its editor in chief. Kristy’s a firm believer that hard work, perseverance, life-experience, and spell-checker—not literary talent or a knack for crossword puzzles—are the keys to becoming a successful writer. She rides bikes, hikes rocky trails, and stares at the outdoors from her messy-desk home-base in Boulder, Colo.
Attendees who wish to have their writing critiqued by a conference presenter should attach it to an email Conference Organizer Buck Tilton at least two weeks before the conference.



Buck Tilton

Wind River Writers Conference Manager
Email: Buck Tilton



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