It’s the start of a new month and we’re continuing our ongoing community effort to showcase organizations that promote social justice, diversity, and more inclusive access to public lands and nature. In December, we’re shining a light on the important work of Big City Mountaineers (BCM).
In the past 30+ years, this Colorado-based organization has given more than 10,000 young people from underrepresented urban communities the opportunity to “connect with nature and develop their strengths, skills and resilience.”
THIS MONTH'S ORGANIZATION:
Big City Mountaineers offers professionally led, fully outfitted and free backcountry trips to kids aged 8 to 18.
On these immersive trips into nature, whether they’re overnight camping experiences or week-long expeditions, these young participants uncover their own sources of physical, emotional and psychological strength and resilience, finding confidence, serenity and joy in the process. They push themselves in ways they never could in cities, while the social, physical and mental barriers they face are also thoughtfully addressed.
If you’ve had the opportunity to experience the transformative power of nature yourself, we invite you to join us in making a donation to Big City Mountaineers. Your contribution will help to provide more kids from disinvested and underrepresented communities with a meaningful and possibly life-changing experience in America’s wilderness.
Follow Big City Mountaineers on Social
To follow Big City Mountaineers and their programming initiatives, check out their social media accounts:
Follow their Instagram @big_city_mountaineers for the latest info on this year’s trips and workshops. We invite you to join us in making a donation to support Big City Mountaineers: 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.