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Narratives Worth Exploring

Commentary, Deserts, National Parks / 10.08.2018

It’s a rare travel day when I can sleep past 6AM. On this particular occasion I had more than four hours to kill before my flight was scheduled to depart. As the dogs padded circles around our bed I heard the click, click, clicking of their nails on the hardwood floors. Mekela, our blond Great Pyrenees, leaped up on to the bed between us, snuggling her face close to mine, licking at my nose until I rubbed her furry belly.“That was your last night in a bed for...

Diversity, Essays, Expedition Denali, Magazines, Public Land, Uncategorized / 06.08.2018

Over my coffee on a Saturday morning I reached for a new magazine at the top of my reading pile. I actually thought it was the Patagonia catalog, thrilled to see at first glance a person of color on the cover. On closer inspection, though, I realized that it was the American Alpine Club “Guidebook to Membership”.A tight close-up image of a face with apparently dark skin wearing glasses had that vaguely artistic quality that offers little in the way of relevant information but draws the viewer in...

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...