- Educate wilderness practitioners on risk management and practical skills.
- Share field and administrative techniques in risk management.
- Influence risk management standards in the wilderness adventure and education industry
- Provide a networking and professional development forum with today’s leaders in the field.
History of the WRMC
In 1992 representatives from Outward Bound, Alpine Towers, Wilderness Medical Society, Wilderness Education Association, Exum Mountain Guides, Association for Experiential Education, International Safety Network, National Association of Search and Rescue, American Mountain Guides Association, American Alpine Club, Outdoor Network/Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America, the National Park Service and NOLS met in Lander, WY to form the original Wilderness Risk Managers Committee.
The group set an agenda that involved an examination of current issues within the industry and each organization. The committee wanted to serve as an informal think tank, providing better understanding and coordination in the outdoor education arena.
After meeting for a second time in 1993, the committee sponsored the first ever Wilderness Risk Management Conference at NOLS Pacific Northwest in Conway, WA in 1994. Since that time the conference has served as a venue for sharing experiences and aligning practices in wilderness risk management. The conference is known for its high quality workshops and spirit of collegiality and openness.
Over time multiple groups have influenced the conference. The Wilderness Risk Managers Committee, a national consortium of outdoor schools, guide services, organizations and land managers, helped to develop the conference agenda and to attract high quality presenters. NOLS, the lead conference sponsor, along with co-sponsors Outward Bound and the Student Conservation Association continued to enhance the professionalism of the conference and extend its reach within the industry.
As the conference and committee both grew, it became apparent that the current structure no longer best served the needs of either planning the conference or addressing key industry issues. In 2009 the Wilderness Risk Managers Committee disbanded itself and in its place installed a small annual steering committee with responsibility for speaker selection and agenda development. In addition, a new interest group forum was created to follow the annual conference to allow for discussion of current industry related issues. The conference continues to evolve under the guidance of the co-sponsors and remains an excellent educational opportunity for those providers new to the field and the premier venue for established professionals in the adventure education industry.