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Changing the Face of the Outdoors – Written by James Edward Mills
The nation’s wild places—from national and state parks to national forests, preserves, and wilderness areas—belong to all Americans. But not all of us use these resources equally. Minority populations are much less likely to seek recreation, adventure, and solace in our wilderness spaces. It’s a difference that African American author James Mills addresses in his book, The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors.
In 2013, the first all-African American team of climbers, sponsored by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), challenged themselves on North America’s highest point, the dangerous and forbidding Denali, in Alaska. Mills uses Expedition Denali and its team members’ adventures as a jumping-off point to explore how minority populations view their place in wild environments and to share the stories of those who have already achieved significant accomplishments in outdoor adventures—from Mathew Henson, a Black explorer who stood with Peary at the North Pole, to Kai Lightner, a teenage sport climber currently winning national competitions.
As our country grows increasingly multicultural, our natural legacy needs the devotion of people of all races and ethnicities to steward its care. The Adventure Gap is both a compelling adventure tale and road map to help everyone look to the outdoors for experiences that will enrich their lives.