Cruising right into June and the busy summer travel season. It’s a brand new month, which means we’re posting another segment in our Diverse NPS series. We’re approaching a year since our small group of outdoor enthusiasts and national park creatives got together to build out the DiverseNPS initiative. During the month of June, we’re celebrating #pride2021 and sharing the work of The Venture Out Project, in our community effort to showcase organizations who are working towards social justice and more inclusive public lands.
THIS MONTH'S ORGANIZATION:
Established in 2014 by Perry Cohen, The Venture Out Project was one of the first guiding companies run by and for queer and transgender people.
The mission of The Venture Out Project is to provide a safe and fun space for queer, trans, and LGBTQ+ people to experience the outdoors as well as providing education and support that helps schools and organizations affirm their LGBTQ+ members. This is further underscored by their commitment to environmental stewardship, social justice, diversity, and inclusion.
To hear more about Perry Cohen and the Venture Out Project, watch this REI documentary featuring the organization:
Follow The Venture Out Project on Social
Follow their Instagram @theventureoutproject for the latest info on this year’s trips, trainings, and workshops. We invite you to join us in making a donation to support The Venture Out Project, all of the info can be found at ventureoutproject.com/donate
About the DiverseNPS Initative:
As outdoor enthusiasts and lovers of America’s parks, we’ve experienced the benefits of connecting with nature and our diverse landscapes. From city parks where we can get a taste of green amid cemented city blocks, to recharging strolls and hikes in the millions of acres of our state parks, to treks and climbs in the breathtaking landscapes in our national parks, the chance to be in nature is an experience we hold invaluable.
Undoubtedly, our lands should be enjoyed by all of us, but when we look into who is getting access to our lands, we see alarmingly disproportionate statistics that highlight a gap between race and park visitations. When we examine the reasons why these gaps are present—access, education, resources, discrimination and prejudice—we understand that systemic racism in our country is the major contributor to these disappointing disproportions.
In the National Park System, for example, Black Americans make up about 7 percent of visitors, while they are 13 percent of the U.S. population. Moreover, 78 percent of visitors are White.
The end of the Jim Crow era in 1968, showcases that Black American generations have only recently gained the freedom and liberty to move around this country. Still today, minorities face prejudice and discrimination within our outdoor spaces and, often, cannot safely and comfortably enjoy outdoor recreation.
AS PARK ENTHUSIASTS AND ADVOCATES OF SPENDING TIME IN NATURE, WE ARE COMMITTED TO ADDRESSING RACISM WITHIN OUR INDUSTRY.
To do so, we are taking action to use our platforms to contribute to the progress that is much needed within the outdoor space and community.
As a part of this community, Park Chasers will join with others in highlighting organizations that are dedicated to bridging the race gap in the outdoor space by connecting opportunities and experiences to people of color.
Each month, we are featuring and focusing on one organization, with the intent to showcase their hard work, raise awareness and support them through funding and donations. We’ll share monthly articles and social media posts along with links for how you can donate.