Scenario Planning Session Two

The crowd present the evening of June 2nd for the first session reconvened the following morning at 8:30 AM. Juliet and David had been busy during the wee hours compiling the results of the previous days work.

The first order of business was to quickly recap the discussions and findings from the previous day, and then move ahead with the development of a framework for the discussion about possible futures for our area.

Toward the end of the day yesterday, participants had individually ranked both the importance, and their own certainty, that the divers they had developed would have an impact on the community in the future.

Here again, is the list of 20 most important drivers people were ranking:

  • Mining longevity and stability
  • Increasing Hispanic population
  • State tax base and revenues for education and other social services
  • 85% Federal land ownership
  • Tourism and gaming and the economic impact on community
  • Aging population – becoming a retirement community and brain drain
  • Availability of water
  • Lack of broadband infrastructure and connectivity/integration
  • Community apathy and complacency / resistance to change
  • Availability of transportation
  • Development of geothermal resource
  • Vulnerable to volatility in energy prices / impact on local food security
  • Checkerboard lands
  • Local government vision
  • Recreation as an attraction to area
  • Agriculture price of crops and cattle
  • Success or failure of California’s economy
  • Influx of ‘new’ industry
  • Availability of local health care services and Access to affordable housing
  • Lack of cultural arts infrastructure



When the data from the individuals rankings were complied and plotted, the following chart was a result.

Click Image for a Larger View

This plot effectively indicates a very strong consensus that the mining industry is very important to the future of the area, and that the participants felt very certain that the mining industry would have an impact on the future. In contrast to “Mining Longevity and Stability”, the “Lack of Cultural Arts Infrastructure” was ranked among the least important of the 20 drivers, and participants felt quite uncertain about it’s impact on the future.

Using these findings as a basis for further analysis, the most certainly important factors, those items in the lower right hand quadrant of the chart, were further investigated and broken out into the following groupings.


Regional scenario shaping clusters of drivers

Economic resilience and diversity

Mining longevity and stability

Influx of ‘new’ industry

Availability of transportation

Tourism and gaming and the economic impact on community

Lack of broadband infrastructure and connectivity/integration

Agriculture price of crops and cattle

Vulnerable to volatility in energy prices / impact on local food security

Availability of water

Community adaptability and responsiveness

Community apathy and complacency / resistance to change

State tax base – revenues for education / social services

Local government vision



These two major clusters of drivers then become the basis for the further development of scenario’s for the future. These clusters are placed in a matrix to explain how the future might develop. On the one hand there is a community that can develop more or less flexibility to adapt and respond to the future, and on the other hand, the community can develop more or less economic resilience and diversity.



What would Winnemucca and Humboldt County be like in 2030?

Participants were now divided up into four groups, and each group was asked to to explore the future of the area under one of these four scenarios. As the groups talked about the future they explored how these futures would affect the triple bottom line of the Social Characteristics, Economic Characteristics, and Environmental Characteristics.

One group discussed how the future would develop if we continued to depend on a resource commodity-based economy but developed the capacity to respond and adapt as the roller coaster of pricing impacted the community. A second group investigated how the future might look if we had an adaptive and responsive community, and developed a diverse economy that was able to capitalize on new challenges and opportunities. A third group explored the more diverse economy in a fragmented and disorganized community, and the fourth group explored the future under the boom and bust economy in a fragmented and disorganized community.

Each group was to consider how the population and its characteristics might change over time, what the quality of life and ‘livability’ of the region might look like, what sort of skills and educational profiles the community might take on, the types of industries and economic sectors that might either grow or diminish over time, and the visual impacts and affect on the landscape that might emerge. Participants were also asked to consider how the community might be affected by sudden shocks to the economy; such as soaring fuel and energy prices, suddenly dropping gold prices, or a rapid demand for additional food on a worldwide basis.

As a part of the exercise each group was also asked to create a name for the scenario they worked on, along with a set of probable events that might take place over time as the future unfolds.

At the end of the session each group briefly reported out on its findings and analysis, and then turned their worksheets, notes, and ideas over to the event organizers who will further refine this information into a sort of story, or narrative, that will go along with each scenario.

Next Steps

Current plans call for these four scenarios to be further developed and then brought back to a series of community wide discussions so that everyone in the area will have a chance to consider the future, provide their own input, help the community reach some sort of consensus on their preferred future, and to agree on the actions that will be necessary to reach that future. These sessions are to begin the week of July 19, and more details and information will be coming soon on the shape these conversations will take.

Powerpoint Presentation Day Two




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