Diversity and Inclusion Resources

The Partnership aspires to champion a culture of justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion to cultivate greater strength and resilience within and beyond our network as we welcome all to protect, enjoy, and support the National Trails System. This effort may never be perfect, but the Partnership is committed to making the National Trails System safe and welcoming to all people.

We respectfully ask all trail advocates and enthusiasts to join us in investing time in broadening our understanding of systemic racism. We are compiling resources to help us all become more aware, informed, and better equipped to take action. Please note this is not an exhaustive list. Entries are alphabetized by title. 

Do you have a resource to share here? Please email communication@pnts.org.


Points of view

Articles, books, podcasts, and videos about experiencing the outdoors from the perspectives of people of color. 

  • African American Explorations
  • Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors (2014)
    • By Carolyn Finney, PhD, Author, Storyteller, and Cultural Geographer. Carolyn explores how issues of difference impacts participation in decision-making processes designed to address environmental issues. The aim of her work is to develop greater cultural competency within environmental organizations and institutions, challenge media outlets on their representation of difference, and increase awareness of how privilege shapes who gets to speak to environmental issues and determine policy and action.  
      • Carolyn was a keynote speaker and Next 100 Coalition panelist at the 2018 National Trails System Conference on the topic of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on National Trails. Learn more here.
  • Diversity is Not a Hashtag: An Open Letter to the Outdoor Community (June 2020)
    • By Amiththan Sebarajah, an Appalachian Trail hiker, shares what it’s like to experience racism and acknowledges the historical context of the conversation.
  • How This Hiker Encourages The Black Community To Reclaim Nature
    • Video featuring Katina Grays, Outdoor Afro leader in New York City, for the September 2019 Today Show. Outdoor Afro is an organization dedicated to increasing African-American leadership and community in nature and conservation. Katina builds community and increases diversity in outdoor recreation by sharing her love of hiking with others.
  • Justice and Equality
    • Video featuring Charles Thomas, Executive Director of Outward Bound Adventures, during the 2019 International Trails Symposium and Training Institute.
  • Meet Michela Williams of Black Too Earth
    • Q/A with Michela Williams, Co-Founder of Black Too Earth, which connects black people with black environmental organizations through site visits and volunteer opportunities. 
      • Michela was also featured in this Pathways Project video by the Joy Trip Project while serving as a U.S. Forest Service employee in 2019. As a PNTS Trail Apprentice, Michela also gave a Trail Talks presentation (32:50-41:00) at the 2018 National Trails System Conference, titled, “Demystifying the Outdoors: Exploring How the Beauty of the Outdoors Can Be Barriers or Main Attractions.” 
  • Meet the first two African-American Triple Crowners: Will “Akuna” Robinson and Elsye “Chardonnay” Walker.
  • Summit Seekers: Telling Our Own Story on the Trail
    • By Frederick L. Tutman, D.C. Ambassador for the 2017 Summit Seekers Inaugural Program, an intergenerational outdoor leadership training program designed to foster inclusion and engagement of communities of color with traditional outdoor recreation and promote environmental stewardship.
      • This article was published in the Fall 2017 Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Journeys magazine and republished in the Spring 2018 Partnership for the National Trails System Pathways Across America magazine.
  • The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors (2014)
    • By James Edward Mills, Author, Journalist, Founder of the Joy Trip Project, Ice Age Trail Alliance Board Member, and Faculty Assistant at the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute For Environmental Studies who teaches a summer course for undergraduate students on diversity, equity and inclusion in outdoor recreation and public land management called Outdoors For All.
      • The Joy Trip Project is a newsgathering and reporting organization that covers outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living. Follow along on the blog and listen to the podcast series.
      • James wrote the article, “Here’s How National Parks Are Working to Fight Racism,” for National Geographic in June 2020. The article shares that efforts are underway to make the outdoors more inclusive, but many Black travelers are still cautious to embrace America’s “best idea.”
      • James wrote the opinion article, “Built on Smoke,” for SNEWS in June 2020. The 31-year veteran of the outdoor industry offers a personal history of race relations in the action sports business and considers whether current activism is setting the stage for lasting change.
      • James wrote the article, “Greater Accountability: The outdoor industry has risen to speak out about racial injustice, but how is it making outdoor spaces safer for Black people?” for The OR Weekly in June 2020. 
      • James created the podcast and wrote the blog post, “Greening Youth: A Conversation with DEI Subject Matter Experts,” in January 2020. 
      • James also wrote the article, “No Pain, No Change,” for SNEWS in June 2019, showing how mistakes will be made on the way toward a more diverse outdoor community. But James sees progress where others see only problems. The article also includes steps your company can take to be more inclusive.
  • The Anxiety of Hiking While Black
    • By Aaron Jones, Marjorie Leach-Parker, and Tiffany Tharpe, published in The Guardian in July 2018. These three African American hikers describe fears and stereotypes they have faced in the woods – and why they love hitting the trails.
  • The Melanin Base Camp Guide to Outdoor Allyship
    • By Danielle Williams, Founder of Melanin Base Camp, which aims to #diversifyoutdoors by increasing the visibility of outdoorsy black, indigenous, people of color, to increase our representation in the media, advertising and in the stories we tell ourselves about the outdoors.
  • Why Every Environmentalist Should Be Anti-Racist
  • Why Race Matters When We Talk About the Environment
    • Q/A with Dr. Robert Bullard, scholar, activist, and the father of environmental justice, in this 2018 Greenpeace article about why race is always the most significant factor behind injustice of any kind, and who he sees as the new leaders pushing equality to the forefront of the environmental movement.

Related organizations

We are compiling a list of organizations and communities focused on promoting diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion in the outdoors.

  • Backyard Basecamp inspires Black, Indigenous, and all People of Color (BIPOC) across Baltimore City to find nature where they are and empowering them to explore further.
  • Big City Mountaineers breaks down barriers to youth access to the outdoors by partnering with local youth agencies to provide fully-outfitted, professionally-led, no-cost backcountry trips for our students.
  • Black Girls Trekkin’ promotes diversity in the outdoors and focuses on the principles of representation, diversity and inclusion, education, and conservation.
  • Black Outside seeks to not only diversify the outdoors but also unleash a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts reflective of our country and state’s beautiful diversity by expanding access, programming, and relevancy to both Black and Brown communities across Texas.
  • Black Too Earth connects black people with black environmental organizations through site visits and volunteer opportunities.
  • Blackpackers provides gear, outdoor excursions, and outdoor education for free or at subsidized cost in Colorado, and connects participants with volunteer opportunities, internships, jobs, and post-secondary education resources to create a pipeline from outdoor recreation to outdoor industry careers.
  • Camber Outdoors supports workplace inclusion, equity, and diversity in the active-outdoor industries.
  • Color Outside helps women of color harness the power of the outdoors to create the JOY-filled, balanced lives they crave through coaching, workshops, and one-of-a-kind retreats.
  • Ecoinclusive supports the creation of healthy and diverse organizational and community  ecosystems.
  • Greening Youth Foundation engages underrepresented youth and young adults, while connecting them to the outdoors and careers in conservation.
  • Indigenous Women Hike share the journey of reclaiming ancestral trade routes and healing through their inherent connection to the land to make outdoor recreation accessible to all.
  • In Solidarity Project includes The Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge, which pairs leading outdoor brands in one-on-one relationships with inclusion advocates to advance representation for people of color across the industry, and the African American Nature and Parks Experience, which works to create a more equitable and inclusive outdoor industry.
  • Joy Trip Project is a newsgathering and reporting organization that covers outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living, and diversity.
  • Latino Outdoors inspires, connects, and engages Latino communities in the outdoors and embraces cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative, ensuring our history, heritage, and leadership are valued and represented.
  • LatinXhikers is a community dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the outdoors through digital story-telling and community outreach.
  • Melanin Base Camp aims to #diversifyoutdoors by increasing the visibility of outdoorsy black, indigenous, people of color, to increase our representation in the media, advertising and in the stories we tell ourselves about the outdoors. 
  • Native Land Digital maps out Indigenous territories, treaties, and languages to bring about discussions of colonization, land rights, language, and Indigenous history tied to our personal histories.
  • Native Women’s Wilderness inspires and raises voices of Native women in the outdoor realm, encourages a healthy lifestyle grounded in the wilderness, and educates Natives and non-Natives on the rich beauty and heritage of the ancestral lands beneath our feet.
  • Outdoor Afro celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature, letting people know that they are welcome in the outdoors to build community and find healing.
  • Outdoor Journal Tour, which launched #wehiketoheal (June 21-27, 2020), is a community built for women to facilitate personal growth and alignment, using a beautiful combination of physical activity, guided journaling, and meditation to help women create this balance.
  • Outdoors Alliance for Kids advocates for equitable and readily available opportunities for children, youth, and families to connect with the outdoors.
  • Outward Bound Adventures uses nature-based, environmental education and backpacking, wilderness travel, camping, hiking and natural resource restoration projects to expose underserved youth to careers in conservation as well as to upgrade academic and social skills.
  • Out There Adventures is an adventure education organization committed to fostering positive identity development, individual empowerment, and improved quality of life for queer young people through professionally facilitated experiential education activities.
  • Pride Outside is an LGBT outdoor community: hiking, biking, paddling, and more!
  • Queer Nature is a queer-run nature education and ancestral skills program serving the local LGBTQ2+ community.
  • TheBlackOutdoors increases awareness of and participation in outdoor recreational activity amongst black people and other underrepresented groups.
  • Unlikely Hikers is a diverse and inclusive Instagram community featuring the underrepresented outdoorsperson.
  • Venture Out Project provides a safe and fun space for queer, trans, and LGBTQ+ people  to experience the outdoors and provides education and support that helps schools affirm their LGBTQ+ community members.  Check out this Q&A with founder Perry Cohen from SNEWS in March 2020.
  • Wild Diversity welcomes and creates a sense of belonging in the outdoors for the BIPOC & LGBTQ+ communities by hosting outdoor adventures, providing outdoor education, and facilitating community workshops.

Anti-racism and diversity resources for allies

Related webinars, trainings, and virtual town hall meetings have been included on our Webinars page.

  • Acknowledging Native Homelands resources compiled by Christine DeLucia, Assistant Professor of History at Williams College.
    • This webpage includes links to general resources and commentary, popular media coverage, Native Northeast resources and commentary, and examples from other institutions and sites regarding land acknowledgements.
  • Ally Resource Guide shared by the Next 100 Coalition in June 2020.  
    • This document will continue to be updated with the following levels of engagement: registering to vote, ways to donate (various organizations/funds), petitions to sign, representatives and officials to contact, anti-racism resources to listen to,  watch, and/or read, and other anti-racism resources guides.

Trails community statements

PNTS will continue to add more statements in response to recent events from organizations in the trails community as they become available.