Commentary

#BlackLivesMatter, Black In National Parks Week, Black Lives Matter, Commentary, Diversity / 23.08.2022

More than a year ago I received a disappointing message via email. I had recently published an article in National Geographic Travel about an experience I shared guiding a group of Black and Latino outdoor leaders from Detroit and Grand Rapids Michigan on their first ice climbing trip. Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic, with the support of grant funding from the National Society and Patagonia, I put together a modest expedition to visit the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along the frozen cliffs of Lake Superior. The purpose of this project...

#BlackLivesMatter, Adventure Activism, Alaska, American Rivers, Black Lives Matter, Climate Change, Commentary, Destinations, Diversity, Environmental Journalism, Environmental Protection, Fly Fishing, National Parks, On Assignment / 22.07.2022

This week in Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic National Park, I landed a two and half-foot Northern Pike, the biggest fish I’ve caught in my life. As a small group of anglers, all of African descent, our team on the BlackWaters Expedition was delivered by floatplane to a narrow beach on the banks of the Kobuk River. Led by Chad Brown, founder of the environmental engagement nonprofit Love Is King, this adventure into the least visited of all the national parks aimed to reimagine the face of Arctic exploration...

Commentary, Diversity, Outdoor Retailer / 07.02.2022

When she arrived at the Denver Convention Center, Brittney Coleman had that fierce look of determination, like a woman ready to take on the world. Though even she would admit that while attending the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in 2021 as the CEO of a new company, her outward appearance of self-confidence concealed more than a little fear and a since of intimidation. But she wasn’t about to let that get in her way. “I flew in on a cheap flight, stayed with a friend and walked the...

Commentary, Environmental Journalism, Outdoor Retailer, Special Events, Winter / 01.02.2022

Despite a surge of COVID-19 infections that are sweeping the nation, the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market is happening as scheduled. Though the annual Snow Show typically welcomes attendees and exhibitors from around the world by the tens of thousands, the risk of exposure to the Omicron variant has persuaded many companies, entrepreneurs and athletes to stay at home. As I watched a skeleton crew of personnel assemble a handful of display booths on set-up day, it was hard not to wonder if I was witnessing the slow and...

#BlackLivesMatter, Black Lives Matter, Commentary, Diversity, National Monuments, National Parks, Outdoors For All, Public Land, Yosemite / 04.10.2021

Long before the National Parks were established in 1916, Black Americans men and women worked tirelessly to preserve the public lands that many of us today deem sacred. Though directly engaged as combatants in the Plains Wars that displaced Native Americans for the sake of westward expansion, people of African descent, many of whom toiled under the oppressive yoke of slavery, also cherished the sweeping landscapes and natural settings where we now visit for recreation and solace. That enduring legacy of environmental stewardship continues in the present through...

#BlackLivesMatter, #ORShow, #ORSummer, An American Ascent, Art, Black Lives Matter, Commentary, Diversity, Expedition Denali, Outdoor Retailer, Special Events / 05.08.2021

One Day One of the first annual Big Gear Show in Park City Utah, I had the great privilege of presenting to the outdoor recreation industry a commemorative portrait of Charles Madison Crenchaw, the first Black climber to reach the summit of North America’s tallest mountain, Denali. This original painting by the artist Lamont Joesph White celebrates the enduring legacy of an American mountaineer. On July 9, 1964 Charles Madison Crenchaw ascended to the highest physical point on the continent of North America. Just seven days after the...