Public Land

#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 Lives Matter, Diversity, National Parks, Podcast, Public Land, Unhidden / 18.02.2022

Long before the National Park Service was established, the geological site commonly known as Mammoth Cave in the state of Kentucky was a popular tourist attraction. Open to the public for guided tours beginning in 1830’s this massive labyrinth of underground caverns and tunnels was first explored by enslaved people whose legacy of stewardship spans more than 5 generations. A Black man named Stephen Bishop lead much of the earliest explorations of the cave system and named many of the most prominent features. An expert on the largest...

#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...

#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...