Starting last week, SHIFT’s team is showcasing the best reading around the worlds of outdoor recreation, conservation, and inclusion we’ve seen over the last week. Here’s what’s at the top of our list. Send submissions/suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Like many of you, before last year I knew of Caroline only via her Instagram feed, where she seemed to fit more adventure in a week than I could expect in a year in the Tetons. I then eavesdropped on her at SHIFT 2016, where she effortlessly swapped between stories of ski-rappels and clean-air advocacy at Utah’s State Capitol. Caroline, the 2016 SHIFT Adventure Athlete Award winner, is a ridiculously talented snow- and rock- sender who cares deeply about our world. REI’s blog post outlines her approach to advocacy, which she recommends approaching with a climber’s mindset–greeting the hardest challenges with an enthusiastic smile. Thanks for the shoutout on our SHIFT Awards Map too, Caroline!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or spending a lot of time in a tent (can we trade places?), you’ve seen that the Outdoor Retailer show is leaving Utah for Denver over Utah’s treatment of public lands. Nice, CO! Dang, UT. The challenge, now, as author Jason Blevins describes, is to capture “the growing political, economic, and social clout” of the outdoor industry to build momentum as a force for change. Luis Benitez, director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, describes the outdoor industry as one of the few remaining bipartisan economies in the world, hence the focus on economy at this year’s SHIFT. How do we turn the advocacy shown by Patagonia and Black Diamond (among countless others) in leaving OR into political change?
Deep sigh from this reader about the idea of “forest bathing”– don’t get me wrong, I’m fully supportive of the stats: Americans spend 93% of our weeks indoors, reduced cortisol levels, lower heart disease, etc. But the idea of labeling it “forest bathing” and repurposing what outdoor educators have been doing effectively for years doesn’t sit well with me–it feels like an opportunity to commodify the outdoor experience for purchase, particularly via its connection with the Japanese word “shinrin-yoku”–immersing in the forest atmosphere. That’s exotification where it’s not necessary. If anything, the takeaway here is that our culture these days pushes us indoors, and pushes us to move quickly. Whether it’s in a national park or an urban greenspace, we could all use a little more time outside.
Everything I know about Minnesota seems just great. My good friend Liza grew up in Stillwater, our friend Paul Danicic from the Heart of the Continent Partnership has ceaselessly extolled the virtues of the Boundary Waters, and now this! Slap me with a silver dollar. Four women (Katie Ledermann, Hannah Field, Alexandra Benjamin and Ariana Amini) are setting out this fall on a three-month, nearly 5,000 mile bike journey to raise awareness of our public lands and existing threats to their longevity. These young crushers will ride around 100 days from San Francisco to Columbia, SC, with stops along the way to interview individuals and organizations dealing in land protection and management. The women’s trip will be unassisted, carrying all of their own camping, cooking, biking and technological gear. Here’s hoping their route bends through Jackson in November.