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The Joy Trip Project

#BlackLivesMatter, Books, Diversity, Interview, Latino Conservation Week, Latino Outdoors, National Parks, Nelson Institute, The Joy Trip Reading Project / 07.08.2023

On Thursday July 20,2023, The Joy Trip Reading Project hosted an online discussion with former acting National Park Service Director David Vela, author of "Hola Ranger: My Journey Through the National Parks." Vela is the former superintendent of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. He has also worked as the National Park Service's director for workforce and inclusion; director of the National Park Service Southeast region; and superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site and Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. ...

#BlackLivesMatter, Black Lives Matter, Destinations, Diversity, Essays, Outdoor Recreation, Private Land, Travel, Unhidden / 31.07.2023

There is such a thing as coincidence. But it is only when overlapping events are put into their proper context that we can draw substantive meaning from otherwise random occurrences that happen simultaneously. I was recently asked to give a lecture on the campus of the Bay View Association in Petoskey, Michigan. Under an endowment established in the memory of Donald B. Loyd, a 4th generation resident of this resort community just south of the Upper Peninsula, I was invited to share my work on making outdoor recreation...

Alaska, Climate Change, Commentary, Denali, Destinations, Essays, National Geographic, National Parks, Public Land, The Arctic, Uncategorized, We are the Arctic / 24.07.2023

Just over 10 years since my first trip to Alaska’s Denali National Park, I stood near the Mountain Vista Trailhead searching through the clouds. I knew that somewhere in the distance stood a snow-covered peak whose summit stands as the highest point in North America. The horizon line loomed as a field of pale grey light behind a vast expanse of a deep green alpine tundra. The landscape was dotted with a few tall spruce trees scattered sporadically in a low-elevation taiga forest. Beautiful, but not what I...

Destinations, Diversity, Essays, Latino Conservation Week, Latino Outdoors, National Geographic, National Parks, Public Land, The Arctic, The Joy Trip Reading Project / 19.07.2023

After several days of exploring Alaska’s Denali National Park, we’re heading south toward Kenai Fjords. As the resident National Park Expert, I have the great privilege of accompanying a group of environmentally conscious travelers for National Geographic Expeditions. Over the last decade, I’ve enjoyed many other trips to this remarkable place in hopes of encouraging others to follow. By sharing ourtransformational experiences in nature, we aim to build a more diverse constituency of park advocates. Throughout this same period, a wonderful organization called Latino Outdoors has proven to...

#BlackLivesMatter, Appalachian Trail, Black Lives Matter, Continental Divide Trail, Diversity, Hiking, Interview, Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Retailer, Pacific Crest Trail, Walking / 26.06.2023

Having served in the United States Army through the Iraq War, Will “Akuna” Robinson suffered from severe bodily injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. When he returned home in 2003 after a tour of duty in Al Asda near the Syrian border, he found civilian life challenging and was full of despair. As he struggled through physical and occupational therapy, trying to manage chronic pain, he self-medicated with drugs and alcohol to make it through each day. Thankfully, he found support where he was raised in Southeastern Louisiana near...

Black History, Commentary, Juneteenth, Outdoors For All, Uncategorized, Unhidden / 19.06.2023

On the new federal holiday of Juneteenth, we celebrate the end of slavery in the United States and the emancipation of every citizen. This marks the third week of my month-long summer course, Outdoors For All at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. We’re half-way through. As I remind my students, this is not a “Black” holiday. Today we acknowledge that everyone has the inalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Taught at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies this class explores the disparities of access to...