Start With the Why

Watch This Video to Begin Your Lesson

This section will give you a foundational understanding about the three major WHYs that have been and are preventing many Black folks and People of Color from utilizing State Parks and outdoor spaces. We’ll share three major points that illustrate the points of friction many Black folks have about venturing into the great outdoors. 

Ready to get started? Let’s do it!

Let’s discuss the 3 major WHYs:

1) Generational Fears

For generations, many Black folks have been subjected to systemic racism and violence; these fears have been passed down from generation to generation causing Black folks to feel unwelcome and unsafe in the outdoors.

Please click on each image below to reveal information.

Generational fears of the woods being full of danger often persist.
The woods were the site of lynchings and other horrifying attacks on many Black folks.
Many Black folks live with the generational fear of going into the woods and not coming back.

2) Lack of Knowledge

Due to historical generational fears, many Black folks were never invited and welcomed to the outdoors lifestyle. This resulted in a lack of knowledge for many Black folks about nature and enjoyment of the outdoors. Lack of knowledge cultivates fear. It is natural for humans to be fearful of the unknown and familiar. We all know how that can create hesitation for trying something new. 

There was no introduction to the outdoors and camping as a kid.
Setting up campground equipment can be intimidating.
Not knowing how to identify poisonous plants can also be a deterrent.

3) Few Invitations

Why haven’t you seen more Black folks in the industry and the lifestyle? Quite simply, we haven’t been properly welcomed and invited. At the end of the day, Black folks do not need to be given permission to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle and industry, but it sure feels good to be invited and welcomed. This is the most powerful WHY. 

Over 90% of the outdoor industry are White folks.
Remember, it feels good to be invited. The outdoor industry and the outdoor lifestyle lack diversity because of the lack of invitations and welcoming.
Encouraging and inviting more Black families into the outdoors will increase diversity in the outdoor lifestyle and industry.