National Geographic

#BlackLivesMatter, Black In National Parks Week, Black Lives Matter, Diversity, National Geographic, National Parks, Podcast, Public Land, Unhidden / 09.03.2022

A few weeks before his 80th birthday, I had the rare pleasure to speak by phone to the 15th director of the National Park Service Robert Stanton. From his home in Maryland, Mr. Stanton shared with me a personal history of his career as a leading figure in the preservation of public land as well as the enduring legacy of our heritage as a nation. Born in 1940, as Black American Stanton was subjected to the racially focused prohibitions of the Jim Crow era that denied him access...

#BlackLivesMatter, Black In National Parks Week, Black Lives Matter, Capitol Christmas Tree, Deserts, Diversity, National Forests, National Geographic, National Monuments, National Parks, On Assignment, Public Land, Unhidden, Yosemite / 27.12.2021

A few weeks ago, I received a detailed message from my friend and colleague Shelton Johnson. As an interpretive ranger at Yosemite National Park, he expressed to me his concern for the continued preservation of the stories he shares about the U.S. citizens of African descent who protected and patrolled these public lands more than a century ago, the famed Buffalo Soldiers.“I'll be retiring in a few years, and I'm currently the only permanent African American National Park Ranger in the Sierra Nevada which includes both Yosemite and...

#BlackLivesMatter, Black Lives Matter, Books, Capitol Christmas Tree, Choose Outdoors, Diversity, National Forests, National Geographic, National Monuments, National Parks, Unhidden / 03.12.2021

Earlier this week I met for lunch at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. with my new editor Allyson Johnson from National Geographic. A few weeks ago we finalized the details of a contract for me to write an ambitious new journal that shares the enduring legacy of Black American history as interpreted by the National Park Service. In part inspired by the Negro Motorist Green-Book published by Victor Hugo Green from 1936 through 1966, this project aims to reveal the hidden stories of our common heritage as citizens...

Adventure Activism, Banff, Breaking News, Commentary, Diversity, Magazines, National Geographic, Public Land / 01.03.2021

At some point I went from indulging a childhood fantasy to setting a life goal. I know that in the mid 1980s I imagined creating a career of adventure, but the realities of making an honest living relegated my job prospects to positions first in sales and marketing, then in print journalism. More than a decade ago I started to attend the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta to report on the culture of environmental filmmaking and action sports. It was there that...

Diversity, Environmental Journalism, National Geographic, National Parks, Outdoor Recreation, ReThinkOutside / 19.08.2020

WHEN I BEGAN exploring the outdoors, I had no idea that Black people had played a vital role in the creation of Yosemite, one of my favorite national parks. I had never heard the story of the park’s connection with Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers, and when I finally did, at age 42, it came to me as a complete surprise. In the 10 years since, I’ve learned the stories of Stephen Bishop and Mammoth Caves, Lancelot Jones and Biscayne Bay, and many other people of color who have influenced national...

An American Ascent, Commentary, Diversity, Essays, Grand Canyon, Magazines, National Geographic, National Parks, Public Land, The Adventure Gap, Yosemite / 14.07.2020

  HALFWAY INTO OUR two-week paddling trip through the Grand Canyon, my longtime friend Jim Moss had a sudden realization. After a thrilling day exploring limpid blue pools and towering waterfalls beneath the desert rim, we sat in beach chairs drinking ice-cold beer along the banks of the Colorado River.“You know? I’ve made more than 40 commercial guiding trips through this place,” he said. “In 25 years, I think you’re the first African American I’ve ever seen down here.”There’s a statistical reason for this: Although Black Americans represent 13.4...