Public Land

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...

#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...

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...

Adventure Activism, Black Lives Matter, Diversity, Environmental Protection, Ice Age Trail, Madison, National Forests, Podcast, Public Land, ReThinkOutside, Wisconsin / 13.01.2021

The Black Men Northwoods Retreat Hey everybody. Happy New Year! I know things seem to be getting off to a rocky start. How’s that for an understatement. But I sincerely believe that by working together we can get past our differences and move forward toward a brighter future. We just need to come up with creative solutions to our many extremely complicated problems. For example, in the spring of 2020 I was asked by the National Forest Foundation to create a storytelling project.  They asked me to create a series...

Capitol Christmas Tree, Choose Outdoors, Environmental Journalism, Joy To America, National Forests, Public Land, U.S. Forest Service / 06.11.2020

On November 5, 2020 members of the United States Forest Service successfully harvested the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre Gunnison National Forests of Colorado. Despite the tumult of the global COVID-19 Pandemic and a contentious presidential election these dedicated men and women in partnership with corporate sponsors, small private businesses, local government agencies and nonprofit organizations coordinated the complicated task of extracting an 55-foot tall 82- year-old Engleman Spruce Tree for safe transport by truck to Washington D.C. Taken from the GMUG, the ancestral...

Diversity, Essays, Guest Contributor, National Forests, Outdoors For All, Private Land, Public Land, ReThinkOutside / 09.10.2020

I am African-American.  Feels important that I say that up front.  Born in New York city and raised by black parents on land belonging to a wealthy, Jewish family, I was “homeschooled” emotionally and spiritually on a diet of black power, black striving and black possibility.  I often joke with people that I lived with Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali whose presence my father invoked on a regular basis.  My parents, Henry and Rose, grew up in Floyd, Virginia – poor and black with a high school education. ...