[caption id="attachment_365" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="photo by Dudley Edmondson"][/caption] A new national conference is set to begin on September 23rd. A group of African American environmental activists and outdoor enthusiasts will gather in Atlanta Georgia to have a frank discussion on issues of race in the movement to preserve wild and scenic places. Called Breaking the Color Barrier in The Great Outdoors, this conference promises to bring together people of color to talk about their role in protecting the natural environment for future generations. For details visit www.breakingthecolorbarrier.com -- After 20 years in the outdoor business for me this conference is a long time in coming. As a person of color myself I’ve spent my career silently hoping that more people who look like me would find themselves enjoying the wilderness areas I love. -- If only diversity in outdoor recreation were simply a matter of race. Then we might just think about ignoring it. Those who take comfort in the peace and solitude of wilderness, mostly white folks, would likely prefer to keep nature’s hideaways safely preserved for their own use. And as long as the growing minority population of black and brown folks elects to avoid these wild and scenic places, favoring instead foreign travel and urban pastimes, what’s the harm?