Continuing our initiative to highlight organizations that promote more inclusiveness on public lands and strive to make the outdoors more accessible to everyone, in August, we are featuring Melanin Base Camp.
The goal of Melanin Base Camp is to increase the visibility of outdoorsy Black, Indigenous, People of Color, as well as LGBTQ+ people. This amazing organization aims to increase the representation of minorities in the media, in advertising, and in the stories, minorities tell themselves about the great outdoors.
THIS MONTH'S ORGANIZATION:
Melanin Base Camp is the home base of diversity in outdoor adventure sports, inspiring readers every week with new outdoor-related content from Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous and LGBTQ+ adventurers. Their blog contains dozens of stories, trip reports, adventures, and personal experiences related to complicated topics like transphobia, racism and colorism in the outdoor industry.
These sensitive subjects, from race to gender, are faced head on, but in a way that provides a safe space for all kinds of minorities. Melanin Base Camp truly is a hub for all people with marginalized identities.
Additionally, Melanin Base Camp is also behind the #diversifyoutdoors movement. DiversifyOutdoors.com is a coalition of entrepreneurs, online influencers, organizations and affinity groups that promote diversity in the outdoors and conservation.
About their Founder
Melanin Base Camp was founded in February 2016 by Danielle Williams, who also created Diversify Outdoors in January 2018. Both initiatives have the purpose of increasing the presence and participation of ethnic minorities and LGBTQ+ people in the outdoors.
Danielle is an African American disabled skydiver who has over 600 jumps under her belt. She graduated from Harvard and has spent ten years in the U.S. Army, including deployments in Iraq and the Philippines.
While doing her research on the presence of minorities in the outdoors, Danielle quickly realized that many BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people were already recreating outdoors, kayaking, hiking, surfing, climbing,… All things she assumed people of color didn’t do, they actually already did.
She had the insight that she wasn’t aware of this because she “had never seen images Senegalese surfers, Queer Latinx climbers or Desi skydivers.” Watching TV, she never saw any outdoor ad featuring a person of color.
So, she decided to focus on increasing the visibility of minorities in the outdoor industry, from media and blogs to advertising. Her award-winning blog Melanin Base Camp is a powerful voice for diversity in the outdoors.
Follow Melanin Base Camp on Social
You can follow Melanin Base Camp on social media like Facebook and Instagram, which are chock-full of stories, videos and experiences of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ outdoor adventurers.
You can also share your own experiences by using the hashtags #melaninbasecamp and #diversifyoutdoors. Melanin Base Camp is always seeking new content creators to support their community. If you’d like to tell your own story on the Melanin Base Camp website, you can submit it here.
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.