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Narratives Worth Exploring

Ask James, Letters, National Parks / 03.08.2018

Just back from the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market the business of adventure is very much front of mind. With a major push underway within the industry to expand the diversity of outdoor recreation and environmental conservation I am especially thinking about how a person might begin a career. After almost 30 years steeped in the community of outdoor professionals it’s hard to fathom where to begin turning your passion into a vocation.I recently received an email from a reader who asks the same question: [dropcaps type='normal' font_size='72' color='#f78e0f' background_color=''...

#BlackLivesMatter, #ORSummer, Diversity, Outdoor Retailer, Outside Magazine / 31.07.2018

 On Day Zero of the 2018 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market I strolled around the Colorado Convention Center. As exhibitors set up their booths in advance of the four-day trade show I began plotting a course of travel to traverse a path from one end the sprawling structure to the other. As I made my way to the front of the building I was excited to see a crew of familiar faces. My friend Rue Mapp had just arrived with a few leaders of her empowerment group known as...

Book Review, Books, Camping / 18.07.2018

In 2016 the National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary. This ingenious notion of preserving wild and scenic places was described in 1983 by the novelist Wallace Stegner. “The National Parks are the best idea we ever had,” he wrote.” Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Advocated by the great environmentalist John Muir our system of national parks and monuments designated space for the long-term protection of nature as well as our national heritage. For a century now through the interpretation...

Commentary, Diversity, Outdoor Retailer / 11.07.2018

More than 25 years ago I attended the Outdoor Retailer Show for the first time. It was in January of 1992 and I believe that it was in Reno, Nevada. I was 26 years old, just three years out of college, but I had spent much of that time working at the REI store in Berkeley. At the beginning of my career in the outdoor industry I made the rounds doing a variety of jobs ranging from retail to guiding. I even worked teaching classes in wilderness first-aid...

Environmental Studies, Essays, Short Story / 06.07.2018

Most mornings I started my run about an hour before the ferry arrived from the mainland. The game wardens and lab technicians undoubtedly thought I was a bit odd. Who in his right mind would run in the jungle heat for exercise? Of all the professors, grad students, and undergraduates like me conducting research on Barro Colorado Island I was the only runner. To the Panamanians I was simply “El Negro Gringo Loco”.I arrived in Panama a few weeks earlier. I quickly came to appreciate the Latin propensity...

Environmental Journalism, Nelson Institute, Outdoor Recreation, Outdoors For All / 27.06.2018

In the summer of 2018 my course called Outdoors For All met three days a week for three hours each day for four weeks. At first I thought I’d have difficulty filling the time, but with subject matter spanning more than 150 years of racial oppression I had compiled enough historical references and case studies to fill the pages of my next book. Each day of class constituted a chapter on a specific element of the long narrative of discrimination from the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 through the...