Carolyn Price represents her publication OutdoorsNW at a trade show. Having grown up in Seattle, Price returned there after her stint in Whatcom County, to start the magazine, now at 100,000 copies eight times a year. (Courtesy photo)

SEATTLE — A former staffer at the Lynden Tribune is celebrating her 30th year at her own magazine, OutdoorsNW. Carolyn Price may have been Washington’s first female sports editor, and then she founded Washington’s first outdoor recreation magazine. 

Her work at the Lynden Tribune planted a seed for the community focus she would make the core of her magazine someday.

“The family spirit and commitment to community at the Lynden Tribune is what I brought to OutdoorsNW,” she said.

Price began at the Tribune in August 1977 as sports editor. She had to fill two or three pages with local sports content each week. Price took all her own pictures and did her own black-and-white film developing. That was back in the cramped old Tribune building on Front Street.

She covered the Whatcom County League of high school sports, plus the state patrol and Lynden School Board. She also managed a monthly farm tabloid. She had been from Seattle and went through the Western Washington University journalism program.

"Being a city girl, it was a big difference for me,” Price said. She bought knee-high boots for sloshing through barns and covering the muddy sidelines of football games. 

After she left the sports beat in summer 1980, she stayed around as editor of the Point Roberts Ocean Star, a newspaper the Tribune had just purchased. She worked at that job for two more years, then went back to her Seattle roots.

Calvin Bratt, current editor at the Tribune, took over for Price when she left in 1980.

“We were all just entry-level reporters,” Bratt said. “When we heard in a few years what she was up to with OutdoorsNW, we were blown away.”

Bratt remembers how energetic and invested Price was in the journalism role. Both having come through Western, there was a local connection that was also crucial to her work in Lynden.

“I don’t want to say blessed, but I was really blessed to be hired there,” Price says of being chosen by co-publishers William and Julian Lewis. 

Michael Lewis, Julian’s son and current Tribune publisher, says Price was obviously talented while pushing through any gender bias. “She didn’t miss a beat coming in,” Lewis said.

He remembers that in the mid-1970s, with the addition of Price the staff was all women. “We were ahead of our time,” Lewis said. 

He considers it remarkable what Carolyn did with her love of recreation. Lewis was a Lynden High School athlete in the early 1970s, so Price missed covering him by just a few years.

“My family’s been in the newspaper business for 100 years,” Lewis said. “So she has a few years to catch up.”

OutdoorsNW is an adventure, travel and recreation magazine freely distributed in the greater Pacific Northwest. It covers  running, hiking, biking, skiing, camping and water sports.

Price started the mag with almost nothing but an old computer and a beat-up truck. She opened an office in the Lower Queen Anne district in January 1988 and published her first eight-page edition about two months later. 

After three decades, OutdoorsNW continues to thrive. A team of only seven people compiles the consistently award-winning magazine with a readership of more than 100,000 people per edition, eight times a year. Price Media Inc. is owned and operated by Carolyn and her brother Greg.