On Assignment

#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...

Capitol Christmas Tree, Choose Outdoors, Joy To America, National Forests, On Assignment, Public Land, U.S. Forest Service / 16.11.2021

This weekend I will be in Washington D.C. to deliver and photograph my seventh U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. As one of the greatest honors of my life, each year I am tasked to tell the story of the United States Forest Service and its efforts to protect and preserve our natural resources through the harvest and transport of a tall evergreen tree from one of the 154 national forests to our nation’s capital. Known as the People’s Tree this majestic conifer stands as a monument to our shared...

#ORSummer, Black Lives Matter, Books, Diversity, Environmental Journalism, Magazines, On Assignment, Outdoor Retailer, Outside Magazine / 09.08.2021

After more than a year of social isolation due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, our community of outdoor professionals is finally getting back together. Today I’m heading home after the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market where I spent a busy week of reporting on a few events meant to celebrate the continuing growth and prosperity of the outdoor recreation industry. The week before many of us gathered at the first ever edition of The Big Gear Show in Park City, Utah. That incredible outdoor venue at the Deer Valley Ski Resort...

Adventure Activism, Commentary, Diversity, Environmental Justice, Environmental Protection, Latino Outdoors, National Forests, National Parks, On Assignment, Public Land, The Pathways Project / 15.08.2019

The weather on this August day in Atlanta was seasonably warm. That is to say, it was hot! But when confronted by the realities of climate change everyone seemed to think it was a lot hotter than it should have been. The temperature was well above 95º Fahrenheit as we walked along the trails of the East Palisades section of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Sweat poured down my face and completely drenched my clothes. Despite the heat on a sunny Saturday morning the parking lot was full and dozens of people came out to experience the joy of nearby nature.
Climate Change, Commentary, Destinations, Environmental Protection, Expedition News, National Geographic, On Assignment, The Adventure Gap, The Arctic / 08.01.2018

Even after many years of adventure travel I still agonize over the purchase of a new piece of equipment. With my finger hovering over the “buy now” button at the Baffin.com web site, I weighed the prospects of full commitment to this latest project. The outlay of serious cash for a pair of three-pin ski boots was the first step in putting together an ambitious kit capable of withstanding the harshest cold-weather conditions on the planet. Five years now after a double hip replacement and well into my...

Alpinist, Climbing, Diversity, In Memoria, On Assignment / 16.10.2017

When my friend Aimee Copp, the director of the Adventure Film Festival invited me to come to Boulder to take part in this wonderful event she asked me, “So James, what are your working on?”. I immediately told her about an exciting story that I’m writing  for Alpinist Magazine about a French climber who died on Aconcagua in 1995. She asked me to appear on stage at the Boulder Theatre to tell this remarkable story. If you’ve read the memoir of the great American climber Lynn Hill you may...