Access to the outdoors is not something that most people think about. For most individuals, access to the outdoors is simply going to their local park or traveling to an outdoor recreational area. It is enjoyable. It is fun. It is relaxing. Unfortunately, that is not the case for a lot of people. According to a 2017 report by the Outdoor Industry Association, barriers to the outdoors exist due to “the great expense, dirt and discomfort, as well as the perceived and actual dangers of outdoor adventures.” These barriers, or limits of access, can be categorized into three areas: physical, mental, and emotional. Physical limitations to access manifest in the lack of green space or outdoor recreational area within the community. They also exist where transportation to these areas is not possible. Mental limitations to access is broad, but the most prominent form of it is the perceived lack of demographic representation in the outdoors for minorities, women, or under-resourced individuals. Organizations like Outdoor Afro are hoping to change that perception, while also reintroducing nature to the African American community. The final barrier is the emotional limitation to access of the outdoors. This can come from feeling unsafe in nature to due to past experienced trauma in the outdoors or the fear of the unknown in nature.
The mission and purpose of Trailblazing Hope Outdoors is to combat these limitations by providing an opportunity for access to as many people as possible, beginning with underserved urban youth. Just as I explored the world around me as a child, that same option of adventure should be available to those that are prevented from doing so. We believe that nature provides healing of the mind, body, and spirit and that no one should be denied that. Nature is open and we will help usher in a new wave of participants to enjoy all that it has to offer.
Hope From the Trail
Hope From the Trail features original content related to the healthy pursuit of self, others, and nature. Be sure to stay connected for all things outdoors.