Commentary

Commentary, Diversity, Fly Fishing / 19.09.2017

On my 51st birthday, Chad Brown, a friend and colleague, took me fly fishing on the Clackamas River in the pouring rain. Two days earlier I saw the forecast for showers in the city of Portland, Oregon. It didn’t look good, but I hoped for the best. At 5AM Chad arrived at my hotel with his chocolate lab named Ax. The handsome dog lifted his head for a quick scratch behind his ears as I ignored the bright orange sign on his tactical harness that said, “DO NOT PET”....

Commentary, Diversity, Photography / 01.09.2017

A recent blog post described me as “a champion in the effort to bring more diversity to the outdoors.” As much as I appreciate the compliment, the statement appears as the cutline to a photograph at the head of an article that goes on never to mention anything that I might have done to earn the title of “champion”. The author never contacted me for a quote or even referenced a single one of the 800+ stories published on this blog or the scores of magazine articles, radio...

Commentary, Hiking, Madison, Photography, Walking, Wisconsin / 15.08.2017

On Sunday August 13, 2017 community organizers in Madison, Wisconsin gathered citizens together at the State Capitol to stand up against a climate of hate. The day before in Charlottesville, Virginia a group of white supremacists lead a march to protest the removal of a monument to the Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee. The event tragically resulted in the deaths of two Virginia State Troopers Berke M.M. Bates and H. Jay Cullen, whose helicopter crashed while providing public safety assistance when the demonstration became violent. Heather D....

Commentary, Diversity, Environmental Protection, Environmental Studies, Nelson Institute, Public Land / 08.05.2017

When it comes to discussing complex social issues it’s hard to know where to start. This summer I'm scheduled to teach a course on diversity and inclusion in outdoor recreation called Outdoors For All at the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies. As a linear thinker my first inclination was to begin the class with an  in-depth exploration of the cultural circumstances that got us where we are today, a nation tragically divided alone racial and socio-economic lines. For a variety of different reasons there are...

#BlackLivesMatter, Commentary, Diversity, Essays, Guest Contributor, National Parks / 07.03.2017

Like much of modern America I was appalled by a seemingly innocuous line in a recent speech by the newly appointed Department of Housing and Urban Development Director Dr. Benjamin Carson. On his first day in office he addressed staff members with a lecture on the virtues of hard work and dedication in the pursuit of the American dream. With great reverence paid to the contributions of immigrants he particularly pointed out the efforts those forcibly brought to this country against their will. “That’s what America is about,” Carson...

Book Tour, Commentary, Diversity, Environmental Protection, Public Land, The Adventure Gap / 06.02.2017

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]y host Dr. Kelli McMahan seemed to vibrate with enthusiasm. As she drove me from my hotel in Waco, Texas through the campus of Baylor University we watched an endless parade of young people in pursuit of knowledge and higher education. “There is nothing more exciting than life on a college campus,” she said. With obvious delight she smiled and shuttered with the tingling sensation of the very thought. Taking in the scene I couldn’t agree more as we rolled past white marble and red brick buildings teaming with impressionable...