By Elizabeth Sodja | January 17, 2023
2022 year end image
Dear Friends,Well, 2022 has come and gone, and it was quite the year! Like many of you, we're looking back on what we accomplished over the last twelve months and looking hopefully toward 2023.Despite being a small program, we kept very busy and are excited to share our 2022 highlights below. Keep scrolling to find links to our webinars, our 2022 GNARly Blog posts, two new (and one complete revamped!) toolkit pages, research updates, news articles, and more!We'd also like to take a moment to say Thank You! Through your generous support, collaborative efforts, and offers of help and on the ground insights, the GNAR Initiative was able to keep being a resource and hub for communities, researchers, experts, and those passionate about helping these incredible communities preserve what makes them special and thrive into the future. As 2023 get underway, please consider donating to the GNAR Initiative below, so we can continue to provide assistance to gateway communities across the West.If you would like to get involved in our work in other ways, please contact our GNAR Initiative Coordinator, Elizabeth Sodja ( We can't do this without your support, so thank you!We wish all of you the best, and happy 2023!Warmly,The GNAR Initiative Team
Webinar Recordings
THE RED EMERALD RESILIENCE TRAINING PROGRAM: A partnership between the Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism (IORT) and the Utah Office of Tourism led to the creation of the 9-part Red Emerald Resilience Training Series this past year. While officially an IORT Project, the GNAR team was excited to contribute to both the content and the execution of the series.Though targeted at a Utah audience, across all 9 sessions, we had over 300 attendees from 16 states and 4 countries! Since the completion of the series, session recordings have received a combined 600+ views on YouTube.You can check out the recordings of each session below:
Planning for a GNARly Future Online Learning Series: After the conclusion of the Red Emerald series, we dived into our latest online learning series: Planning for a GNARly Future: Reimagining Planning to Empower Your Community.Our goal for this series is to create a line-up of virtual, informative and engaging sessions that bring together leading practitioners, organizations, and scholars. These speakers will share community experiences, introduce cutting-edge practices, and/or discuss principles relevant to research-identified topics important for gateway community planning and development. We have a long-term vision to build on these sessions and create future online training modules and certifications for these and other topics of interest to gateway communities.Our first two sessions were attended by over 80 participants and the recordings have already been viewed 120+ times on YouTube. We are stoked to continue the series in the Spring, and hope to continue to provide high quality hard-hitting content for communities. 
You can check out the recordings of our October and November Sessions below: You can also register the upcoming 2023 sessions below:
The GNARly Blog at a Glance
The GNARly Blog had a banner second year! It continued to increase in both readership and content. In 2022, we published 11 blogs, highlighting innovative ideas and projects from four different GNAR communiteis and seven research and resource highlights from some great GNAR community partners.Not familiar with our blog? The GNARly Blog is a new way the GNAR Initiative hopes to spur inter-community communication and share stories and best practices from communities addressing challenges and innovating on the ground. These posts can be about lessons learned, case studies, model ordinances, new programs, or opportunities for collaboration within communities. We are always looking for new topics and bloggers, so if you have an idea you'd like to share, check out our blog guidelines and/or email 2023 is already shaping up to be another great year for our blog, so if you haven't already, sign up for the GNAR email list below and stay tuned!Here's a complete list of all 2022 GNARly Blogs:  
Two New (and One Revamped!) Toolkit Pages!
The GNAR Initiative Toolkit is one of our most important and utilized projects. We are always striving to build new pages and update existing ones as we learn and become aware of new cutting edge resources and examples for communities to utilize.In 2022, we were excited to add two new toolkit pages:
In addition to these toolkit pages, our existing Dark Sky Toolkit Page got a major overhaul and update, with even more resources for both communities and community and/or astrotourism practitioners to take advantage of. 
If you have an idea for a toolkit page, or a resource you think we should be aware of, please email
Research Project Updates
THE GNARLY CHALLENGES, GNARLY SOLUTIONS STUDY UPDATE: In 2021, with initial funding from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, in 2021 we  launched a flagship multi-year study to explore interconnected housing, transportation, and land use issues in GNAR communities.By the end of 2022, the GNAR Initiative wrapped up our massive community survey and was able to complete four in-depth community case studies. 200+ communities responded to our survey, and we're excited to move forward in processing and disseminating the data that came out of it.
GNAR Staff in the News
Finally, our staff were interviewed and/or quoted in NINE different news articles this year across local, national, and international publications! Check them out below:
The GNAR Initiative is only made possible through donations, sponsorships and grants. Help us continue to help GNAR communities through donating or sponsoring today!
To sponsor the initiative or one of our projects, please contact Elizabeth Sodja at You can donate using the PayPal button below.  It will show as you donating to Utah State University, however all donations through this site are marked for GNAR purposes. Please let us know if you need any sort of official notice of your donation.