Speaker explores why outdoor activities are so white

Fox Cities Greenways’ Oct. 27 event includes release of Fox Cities Trail Summit report

Published Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Multi-use trails were already an increasingly popular feature of American cities when the COVID-19 pandemic drove their use to new heights. A virtual community conversation to be presented 4-5:30 p.m. Oct. 27 by Fox Cities Greenways will explore why the faces in those crowds are overwhelmingly white and how to bring diversity to outdoor activities.

Featured speaker Dudley Edmondson, the author of “Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places,” has had a deep love of the outdoors since childhood. But when he visits a park or natural area, rarely does the Duluth-based African American video producer, author, photographer and public speaker see people like himself. He says he wants to create a set of outdoor role models for people of color and help the conservation sector become more inclusive.

East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region are co-sponsors of the presentation, entitled “Understanding the Disconnect Between African Americans and the Outdoors.” Edmondson will connect the dots for his online audience to see why people of color are under-represented in outdoor activities. That will require a look at the nation’s history of slavery, racism, the civil rights movement and social and economic factors now part of African American lives.

The program also will include the release of a report on the 2020 Fox Cities Trail Summit, which brought together planners, parks officials and community development professionals from 16 municipalities to compare notes and set priorities for the region’s bicycle and pedestrian trail network. Their collective plans show $20 million in trail projects being built by the end of 2022. Viewers will get a bird’s-eye view of the challenges of building trails through a drone-assisted video premiering as part of the Oct. 27 program.

Register for free at https//tinyurl.com/TrailSummit.