Commentary

Commentary, Diversity, Madison, Nelson Institute, Yosemite / 23.10.2017

Much of the past weekend I spent happily lamenting an embarrassment of excellent choices. It seemed that the third week of October 2017 was an exceptionally good moment in time to explore, discuss and celebrate the emergence of diversity within the environmental conservation movement. There were at least four events across the country that brought together people of color to share their efforts to make the outdoors more welcoming and accessible to a broader cross-section of the American people. Sadly I was only able to attend two of...

#BlackLivesMatter, Commentary / 17.10.2017

As I walked to the coffee shop this morning I noticed a neighbor rolling out an American flag. He was no one I recognized, perhaps he’s new. But with all due respect I made eye contact with a smile. I gave him a friendly nod and said, “good morning”. He seemed to return my greeting with a note of caution and a mumbled “morning”, like a man anticipating an unwelcome confrontation. Without breaking stride I just kept walking and went about my business. As a journalist it’s my job...

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...