My favourite gear shop — Mountain Equipment Co-op — got called out by one of their members.
She was right.
Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.
To their credit, MEC responded. Here’s their CEO:
Do white people dominate the outdoors?
Let that question sink in for a moment. If you consider every advertisement you’ve ever seen for skiing, hiking, climbing and camping, you might think that’s the case.
… White athletes hold the spotlight in advertising, while the diversity that exists and continues to grow in outdoor spaces isn’t represented in the images we produce and promote. The truth is that we haven’t represented the diversity of Canadians or of our 5 million members.
We’ve let our members down.
We can’t move forward until we acknowledge our past. Historically, the models we’ve used in our catalogues and campaigns and on mec.ca have been predominantly white. And this imagery has perpetuated the vastly incorrect notion that people of colour in Canada don’t ski, hike, climb or camp.
This letter is about recognizing the role we’ve played in underrepresenting people of colour in the outdoors, and committing to change. It’s not OK.
As CEO of MEC, I promise that moving forward, we will make sure we’re inspiring and representing the diverse community that already exists in the outdoors.
This initiative isn’t about patting ourselves on the back. It’s also not about me, another straight white male with a voice in the outdoor industry. This is a conscious decision to change, and to challenge our industry partners to do the same. We know we’ve been part of the problem, and we’re committed to learning from our mistakes and changing the way we represent the outdoor community.
Outside is for everyone. It’s time we acted like it.
Check their new Diversity page. I’m proud to be a member and loyal customer of MEC.
Lonely Planet got it wrong. Vogue got it wrong. Other sites, as well.
The new marketing campaign by the Chilean government called “Route of Parks” is not a hiking trail. It’s a series of roads with occasional trails. And other outdoor adventure options along the way.
I’m hoping to bikepack part in 2019.
Click PLAY or watch the official video on YouTube.
Rough Guides got it right.
It’s a work in progress. Ultimately MIGHT be 1,500 miles long.
It’s one of the great conservation stories of all time: Last month Chile President Michelle Bachelet and American philanthropist and conservationist Kristine McDivitt Tompkins pledged to expand Chile’s national park system by just over 10 million acres—an area larger than Switzerland. …
If you are looking for a long thru hike in Patagonia, check the Greater Patagonian Trail route. It does not connect in any way with the Route of Parks because that’s a road. 😀
Thanks Jan Dudeck for the heads-up on this.
Indiahikes.com is our favourite hiking site for the subcontinent. Very professional.
Since 2011 they’ve been promoting hiking in India. One problem was poor infrastructure for waste management on the trails.
To stay sustainable for the future, all their hikes are litter-free. In fact they pick up more than they bring. Indiahikes groups carried out over 2 tons of trash last year.
Film maker Lakshmi Rebecca — a non-hiker — joins the company on India’s most popular hike, Roopkund. She filmed the adventure.
Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.
India can’t rely on governments to solve waste management. Organizations like this are needed.
This Women-Run Guide Service is Changing Himalayan Trekking in India
Back in 2009, Thinlas Chorol set up the Ladakhi Women’s Travel Company, which has the distinction of being Ladakh’s first travel company completely owned and operated by women. It is also known for promoting ecotourism. …
… With the encouragement she received at SECMOL (Students Education and Culture Movement of Ladakh, an organization that helps educate children from remote regions of Ladakh) and the support of her American English teacher, Thinlas went on to gain some commendable professional expertise.
She attended a mountaineering course at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (Uttarkashi) and spent a semester at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Ranikhet, Uttarakhand, where she picked up wilderness and leadership skills. …
Since then, many Ladakhi women have approached her to train them as trekking guides and, today, the company has 8 guides, 4 trainees and 20 employees in all. …
Ladakh’s First and Only All-Women Travel Company and the Woman Who Started it All
official website – ladakhiwomenstravel.com
For the 3rd season in a row Reinebringen out of Reine, Lofoten Islands is closed.
Several people have died in recent years on the tough, muddy scramble to this iconic vista.
The experts were called. Eight experienced trail builders from the Himalaya.
If people climbed there’s a risk of rock fall down to where they are working.
Out of respect for these guys, I did not climb it.
Reinebringen should open 2019. And be MUCH safer.
There is a good alternative (called by some) Topp 730 that gets you to very similar vistas.
I’ve long ago given up on Trump’s Swamp dweller Ryan Zinke, secretary of the Department of Interior.
In the comments True Brigand links to the many scummy things he’s done.
But he’s making the right noises here. Perhaps he’s learned something on the job.
The Restore Our Parks Act has a good chance to pass. Trump will sign it. I’ll take that as a win … if it happens.
Last year, our parks had 330 million visitors, with more visitors expected this year.
Unfortunately, our park system has been neglected and is in need of rebuilding. We are loving our parks to death. The backlog of critical maintenance and repairs in the National Park Service stands at $11.6 billion and until recently, addressing the backlog seemed to be out of our reach. …
A bipartisan bill that is now before the Senate would achieve this worthy goal. Thanks to the efforts of leaders like Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), and many others, the bill has momentum as others join to show their commitment to our public lands. I commend every senator involved in this effort for recognizing that preserving our parks is not a Republican or Democrat issue – it is an American issue. …
Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.
Guest post by Dustin Walker
“National Parks Are Being Loved To Death.”
This headline has been repeated by media so often in 2018 that it’s become almost a cliché.
And it’s all because of recent statistics showing a more than 21% spike in visitors to U.S. national parks over the past decade. Canada is no different. Park attendance there jumped 27% in the past decade.
All this extra foot traffic means more pressure on park infrastructure, increased human-wildlife conflicts and added stress on the environment (check out the infographic below for more details on this).
What’s causing the surge? No one seems to be certain. However, theories range from social media influence and demographic trends to successful state ad campaigns. But one solution to the problem — at least, from my perspective — is far more obvious:
We need to seek out the trails less traveled.
Much of the overcrowding in parks is happening at the most well-known outdoor “hotspots.” Places like the Grand Canyon and Yosemite in the U.S. Or Banff and Jasper in Canada.
And yet, there are plenty of lesser-known backpacking and hiking trails throughout North America that offer an amazing experience — without the crowds.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting you avoid the best hikes altogether — I’d hate to dissuade anyone from trekking the West Coast Trail or the John Muir Trail.
But I do think that tourism organizations, governments and — to some extent — the media should put more effort into promoting North America’s hidden gems. Whether it’s a little-known hiking trail, a rarely explored park or a lake that’s simply left off the typical tourist map.
Not only would this help alleviate some of the pressure on crowded national parks. It would also introduce more people to the thrill of exploring off-the-beaten path.
This infographic was made by Slick & Twisted Trails
DUSTIN WALKER’S BIO:
Dustin runs Slick & Twisted Trails – a blog for hikers & backpackers who shun the beaten path. Based on Canada’s Vancouver Island, Dustin is always on the hunt for those rare, less-traveled routes through the wilderness.