José in the Arctic

Sometimes, when we’re talking about environmental conservation it’s difficult to know or even imagine exactly what really mean. That’s especially true when we’re asked care, I mean really care about remote areas thousands of miles away from where we live work and play. One such place is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In a region of Alaska so remote that it is only accessible by small charter airplane the Arctic Refuge is perhaps the most geographically isolated wilderness area in the continental United States. Very few people will ever visit there, but as the home many different plant and animal species including caribou and grizzly bears this remarkable ecosystem on the shores of the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean is at the forefront of the modern conservation movement. And as a bellwether of the global impacts of climate change the protection of the Arctic Refuge is a major priority for conservation groups like the Sierra Club and many other environmentally focused community outreach organizations.

José Gonzalez is the founder of Latino Outdoors. His group aims to help members of the Latino community to become engaged in efforts to protect the natural environment. Along with a leader from Outdoor Afro, a group dedicated to helping African American families forge a bond with the natural world,  José and I had the rare opportunity to travel through the Arctic Refuge. Over the span of seven days we paddled more than 50 miles  along the course of the HulaHula river to experience for ourselves the unique beauty of this vast yet fragile natural habitat. In the hopes raising awareness for the importance of this and other distant wilderness areas this trip was organized to help make a connection with emerging communities of color who will one day be called upon to save them.

The purpose of this trip was to help define a new vision of environmental protection, one that includes the participation of all the American people. That means people of color. As the National Park Service celebrates it’s 100th anniversary in 2016 we look forward to a new century of conservation that is more diverse and inclusive. You can get involved. Just follow the hashtag inclusivevision4next100 on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


This edition of the Joy Trip Project Podcast is part of the New Century Vision Project and was made possible with the support of our partner Choose Outdoors. Find out how you can get connected to our public lands through outdoor recreation at #inclusivevision4next100


And special thanks to the Sierra Club for making this Joy Trip possible. Learn more about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at


Our theme music is provided by Jake Shimabukuro with aditional tracks from


Thanks for listening, but you know I want to hear from you. So write to with your question comments and criticisms. For now go be joyful and until next time. Take care

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I'm a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.

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