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Outdoor Afro

Analysis of visitor data has shown that black folks are among the lest likely to enjoy our National Parks system, and to engage in outdoor activities. Getting out and doing activities is one of the most important things in terms of long term health. Doesn’t men you have to zipline Grand Canyon or scale El Capitan – but moderate hiking has great cardio benefits. Not to mention the psychic benefits of just seeing something wonderful.

One of my hobbies for years has been Landscape Photography. Backpacking gear into the wilderness to photograph the scenery, wildlife, and beauty in the mountains, desert, or coastlines. Walking through the 2000 year old Old Grove trees in the Pacific Northwest can be a religious experience, as can the silence of the Desert. Many of these places are located within a few hours drive of a city – some are so remote only a few people even get to them a year.

 

This Woman Wants To Encourage More Black People To Embrace The Outdoors

“There’s something so dynamic about a forest environment,” she said

One woman wants to inspire more black people to participate in outdoor activities, so she created a network where “black people and nature meet.”

Rue Mapp is the founder of Outdoor Afro, an organization that encourages black people to embrace the outdoors and all the activities it has to offer.

“I found that in the nature experiences I had, I was far too often the only one who looked like me,” Mapp said in a video by Facebook Stories. “So I decided to do something about it.”

The nationwide network was created in 2009 and started out as a Facebook group Mapp made to help connect black nature-lovers everywhere. The social media platform and its offerings has become a useful tool for many organizations. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday that now one billion people are using Facebook Groups every month.

“Outdoor Afro is a perfect example of how people can use Facebook groups to build relationships around the things they care about,” Alex Deve, a product manager on Facebook Groups, said in a statement to HuffPost.

Since its launch, Outdoor Afro has grown significantly and now has over a dozen chapters across the country with more than 13,000 members. According to a 2015 report released by the Outdoor Foundation, 70 percent of people who participated in outdoor activities last year were white. Only 10 percent were black.

“National park visitorship, especially in more remote areas, can be as low as 1 percent African Americans,” Mapp said. “I just felt that there were these opportunities and lessons I was learning that more people could benefit from.”

Outdoor Afro has been able to reconnect black people with nature. It encourages black people to invest more in the planet by inviting them on outings such as nature trails and teaches them important lessons on conservation. Mapp said the work she is committed to has evolved beyond her wildest dreams.

“At the end of the day, this is about love and connecting [with] one another,” she said. “Connection is strength and the chance to be better, bigger, stronger and sustainable.”

The Bioblitz Dance – Outdoor Afro and the California Conservation Corps Dance. That is Rue Mapp on the lead in.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Shotgun Shutdown…Not Just For Marriages!

Now the Rethuglys are really getting ready to step in it.

It’s “Huntin’ Season Y’all”! And what that means is a lot of Americans who aren’t rich like a Rothschild and own a few hundred prime acres can grab their boots, their cameras or guns, or fishing rods and go out to one of the National Wildlife areas set aside specifically so Average Joe doesn’t have to be a Rothschild to be able to enjoy the wilderness…And hunt and fish like a King.

Now remember, in feudal Europe, hunting preserves were set up for the royalty. Getting caught with a rabbit on the end of your arrow on, or anywhere near the King’s land, usually meant you winding up in far worse shape than the rabbit.

There was a good reason to get rid of Kings.

For years, Republicans have tried to claim all those hunting and fishing and hiking folks as their own. Mistakenly believing the guys in the Izaak Walton League are the same guys in the NRA….Wrong.

Now…An an “unintended consequence” of shutting the Government down…

All those National areas are shut down.

So what is going to happen when the NRA gang can’t take their machine guns and kill some Bambi?

The Government Shutdown Is Hammering Hunters, Fishers, And Their Communities

As the federal government shutdown that began October 1 stretches into its second week, it is now threatening the beginning of hunting and fishing seasons, and hunters, fishers, and sportsmen’s groups aren’t taking that news quietly.

As major hunting seasons begin across the country, seven sportsmen organizations joined on a conference call Monday to call on Congress to end the shutdown, which has closed 329 federal wildlife refuges to hunting and more than 270 to fishing. More than 35 million Americans hunted in 2011, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife survey, and of those, more than half will hunt or fish on public lands at some point in their lives, Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, said on the call.

“Sportsmen and women in this country, we have a very financial and very personal stake in this federal budget discussion,” Dr. Steve Williams, president of the Wildlife Management Institute and a former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said. “Frankly, I think that Congress’ failure to act is really a slap in the face to all of us in the country and in particular to 37 million hunters and anglers.”

For some hunters and fishers, that means the loss of a basic yearly ritual: hunting with family or friends for deer, waterfowl, or other animals. For others, it means the loss of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: in states like Colorado or New Mexico, big game hunting licenses can take more than a decade to get, meaning hunters who finally got a license but miss this season may have to wait years for another chance, if another ever comes. For fishers, it means the closure of public lakes, rivers, and boat ramps maintained by federal authorities.

But the major effect is on local communities, small business, and people who depend on hunting and fishing for their livelihoods. The wildlife-related recreation economy is huge: in 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that it amounted to $144 billion annually. That economy is made up of hunters and fishers, birdwatchers and environmental enthusiasts, but also of hunting guides who make their living during major hunting seasons. It includes retailers and businesses that depend on $86 billion in direct hunting- and fishing-related sales. Small communities that have cropped up around public lands depend on revenues generated by hunting- and fishing-related tourism during this time of year. All of that is jeopardized by the shutdown.

“These three months of hunting season are like Christmas to a lot of these rural communities,” Land Tawnyey, the executive director of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, said. “They make all their money in three months. It’s vitally important to their economy.” Tawney said he has already canceled hunts on public lands that would have otherwise taken place, and he’s not alone: hunting trips across the country are facing the effects of the shutdown.

Hunters and fishers also generate more than $1.5 billion in revenues each year through licenses. Since most of those are processed at the state level, they shouldn’t be affected by a shutdown. But some licenses, for waterfowl and other species, are done federally and could be impacted. States could also see a drop in license revenue if hunters stay home because they can’t access public lands, Williams said.

The shutdown is also killing environmental conservation efforts.

And that’s not all: the shutdown is also hampering environment conservation and habitat maintenance efforts on federal lands, as well as efforts to protect endangered species on federal lands.

National Wildlife Refuges, comprised of more than 150 million acres of public land, “are some of the most highly-managed lands in the country,” Desiree Sorenson-Groves, vice president of government affairs for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said. This time of year, refuges host hunts of everything from waterfowl to rabbits and small animals to large game. Those hunts come alongside habitat-maintenance and conservation efforts meant to help “mimic some of the natural processes we’ve changed,” she said. Right now, “a lot of the critical habitat work isn’t being done.”

“One of the big factors that we’re seeing is that habitat projects for wildlife that are long-term are being shut down,” Miles Moretti, president and CEO of the Mule Deer Foundation said. “Some of these projects are time-sensitive. They need to be done in the fall. They may not occur this year at all, or they may have to be put off and not done. Those our critical to some of our wildlife species, especially some of our big game animals.”

These industries have already faced the axe from budget cuts and sequestration, as environmental conservation efforts important to hunters and fishers faced budget cuts in recent years, including under sequestration at the beginning of 2013. Sequestration included a 17 percent cut to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Williams said, and the most recent House Republican budget plan includes a 27 percent cut to the service’s budget and includes no funding for land, water, wetland, or wildlife conservation grants. “We’re tired of non-proportional cuts to national resource interests,” he said.

If the government and those lands don’t re-open soon, all of that may be lost, since there’s no delaying hunting season. “Hunting season ends when it ends, when the animals move,” Fosburgh said. If the shutdown doesn’t end before then, there’s no bringing back everything it has already cost America’s hunters and fishers — or the environment and communities that depend on them.

 

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Black Folks and the Parks

Been to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon – and a number of the other Parks in the West and Southwest. Grand

Teton is one of the most stunningly beautiful places I’ve ever been to.

But to be honest with you – black folks are a bit thin on the ground in these parts. Then again, the population of the whole state of Wyoming is smaller than Washington, DC.

Grand Teton

Now that doesn’t mean you are not welcome – and it sure has heck doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the trip.

Yosemite seeks a more diverse visitor base

Reporting from Yosemite National Park— Their YosemiteValley tour was nearing its end, and the church ladies and gents from South Los Angeles had heard enough. Almost.

“He’s been telling us stories he thinks we want to hear for two hours,” said Ann Hale, 70, heaving a sigh of frustration from the back of the tram.

In fact, guide William Fontana had been regaling his listeners — most of them white — with stories about John Muir andTheodore Roosevelt, about fur trappers and rock climbers.

“We’re still waiting for at least a few words about Yosemite’s African American Buffalo Soldiers,” Hale grumbled to a fellow passenger. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in General, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Niagra Falls/National Park Deaths – What’s the Deal?

What’s the deal this year with the number of folks voluntarily eliminating themselves from the gene pool by “accidentally” falling in the water rushing over waterfalls or getting eaten by the wildlife in National Parks? There were the three folks at Yosemite Falls, and now, at Niagra Falls. And it is not just waterfalls – it’s been the deadliest year on record for tourists at the National Parks.

I mean – the way things are going the “Spirit of the Mists”, the boat that goes near the bottom of the Niagra Falls is going to need an airbag on the top to catch the falling bodies.

Considering that over 50% of the folks who wrap themselves in barrels to go over the Niagra Falls wind up dead…

It should be patently obvious nobody is swimming up the falls.

I’ve been to both Yosemite and Niagra Falls, and can tell you both are worth the trip. However, the sound and feel of the ground shaking as metric tons of water pour over the Niagra Falls ought to give anyone pause.

First time I went to Yellowstone was back when the bears still freely roamed the park in the 60’s. One of the thrills was being in a Double-Decker bus, when one of the grizzlies or smaller brown bears would stand up on his hind legs and look straight in through the window at you. Just in case you thought “Yogi” differentiated between you and any other snack food which might offer itself – they had the skin of a 10′ tall grizzly hanging in the old – Old Faithful Lodge entrance. It had been killed by a Park Ranger, and you could see the bullet holes where he first shot it 13 times with his 44-40 Winchester rifle, and then 6 more times with his pistol… After which the bear ate the Park Ranger before expiring…

Here – Police searching for a moron they did know about – found one that they didn’t know about:

Niagara Falls Search for Woman Turns Up Man’s Body

 An odd footnote to the sad tale of the 19-year-old student swept over Niagara Fallson Sunday. An international search team dispatched in a helicopter to look for her body in Niagara Falls Gorge instead turned up the body of an unknown male. Authorities are working to identify him, reports KTLA. Meanwhile, more details are emerging about the tragic weekend incident: The woman, presumed drowned, was an international student from Japan.

The Toronto Star talks to a witness who saw her posing on the railing for a photo moments before she fell, wearing a bright red sweatshirt and holding an umbrella. The paper notes that earlier the same day, a 27-year-old man scaled a safety wall and tumbled into Niagara River Gorge; he and a friend who went in to save him were rescued, though the man fractured his leg.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2011 in News

 

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