Our goal this month is to showcase Soul Trak and encourage our readers and listeners to familiarize themselves with the organization and the work they’re doing. Consider supporting this month’s organization by donating to their cause or sharing their content and work on social media.
As outdoor enthusiasts and lovers of America’s parks, we have been able to experience 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 our 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, ending 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, we are 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.
An overview of organizations we have supported can be found here. (Note: This is our first month). In this document, you can find information about what these organizations are doing and how you can donate to them directly.
About Soul Trak OutdoorsSoul Trak Outdoors is a non-profit organization based out of D.C. with the mission of connecting communities of color to outdoor spaces.
Soul Track connects people of color to each other in outdoor spaces, engages minority groups to represent themselves in the outdoors as a reflection of the broader American population, and facilitates educational opportunities to enhance knowledge and interest in public lands.
We have also created a submission form if you know of an organization who’s doing the work to make the outdoors more diverse and inclusive. If you want to see them supported, please submit via the form below:
We encourage anyone in the outdoor space who wants to become more involved to join us. Feel free to email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to follow up with information on how to join us in taking action to diversify our outdoor spaces.