Essays

Books, Commentary, Diversity, Essays, Madison, Outdoors For All, River Restoration, Special Events, Wisconsin / 08.11.2018

 At the end of October I had the great honor and privilege to host a distinguished guest to the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Author and explorer Eddy L. Harris made a rare appearance on campus to share his experiences paddling the Mississippi River from its source in Lake Itasca, Minnesota to its terminus in the Gulf of Mexico at the City of New Orleans. Depicted in his film “River to the Heart” Eddy paints an intimate portrait of what awaits those willing to venture out into the unknown...

Diversity, Essays, Grand Canyon, National Parks, Public Land, Whitewater / 03.09.2018

Several weeks ago a travel magazine contacted me out of the blue. The senior executive editor of  HereMagazine.com very graciously invited me to contribute to an upcoming issue dedicated to the theme of freedom. She was particularly interested in a story from me on the National Parks and the role that spending time in nature plays in my personal pursuit of happiness. It just so happened that I had given that topic a great deal of thought in recent months and I accepted the assignment with the intention...

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...

Environmental Studies, Essays, Short Story / 06.07.2018

Most mornings I started my run about an hour before the ferry arrived from the mainland. The game wardens and lab technicians undoubtedly thought I was a bit odd. Who in his right mind would run in the jungle heat for exercise? Of all the professors, grad students, and undergraduates like me conducting research on Barro Colorado Island I was the only runner. To the Panamanians I was simply “El Negro Gringo Loco”.I arrived in Panama a few weeks earlier. I quickly came to appreciate the Latin propensity...

Capitol Christmas Tree, Charitable Giving, Environmental Protection, Essays, Video / 21.11.2017

By his own admission, Montana sawyer, Pete Tallmadge thought surely someone else would be a  better choice for the job. “When Kirsten Kaiser the 3 Rivers District Ranger called and asked if I would consider being the sawyer for the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, I just about said ‘no’,” he told a crowd of neighbors, friends and family near his home in Troy, Montana. “To tell you the truth, I immediately thought of 3 or 4 other sawyers that she should call instead.” But the tall gentle man rose...

Adventure Activism, Diversity, Environmental Protection, Essays, Latino Outdoors, National Monuments, National Parks, Natives Outdoors, Outdoor Recreation, Public Land, Special Events / 06.11.2017

On the last night of the SHIFT Festival in Jackson, Wyoming the organizers hosted an after-party at the Organic Lotus Restaurant. By 1:AM a steady beat of house music still roused a group of at least 30 Millennials to dance away the night well into the morning. Damp with sweat I sidled over to the bar for a drink of water. Even after a double hip replacement it doesn’t take much to get this aging Gen-Xer out on the dance floor. Inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of...