Politics & the Outdoor Industry

You may have noticed some political madness over the weekend, no?

President Trump was sworn in on Friday, nearly 3 million people marched in protest on Saturday, and Sunday led off with a new catchphrase {#AlternativeFacts} that I’m fairly positive will become the mainstay expression of 2017.

Whew. That was a busy 72 hours.

As I’m sure it was for everyone, my social media feeds and personal conversations were jam packed with debates over the weekend’s events. In particular, a thread in a Facebook group caught my eye. I’m a member of a freelance/entrepreneurial group for women and the admin took a sec to pop in and offer her opinion to everyone regarding politics and his/her branding. In a nutshell, she suggested that while everyone could {obviously} do what they wanted, she suggested that people steer clear of politics on their business sites in order to avoid alienation of potential customers, readers, followers, etc.

That made me think. I have no intention of turning this site into a political website. Colorado Gal is and always will be a place to share all things outdoors: adventures, gear, travels, and hot topics that affect the outdoor industry.

And that’s why I can’t promise to stay silent.
Public Lands

I’m not sure what the next four years will bring to the White House, but it is obvious that things will change. And some of these issues directly relate to me, my passion for the outdoors, and this site.

Public land protection and environmental advocacy are vital to outdoor recreation. As such, they directly apply to this website. For me, this is not about bipartisanship or political parties; it’s about the issues. Taking away public lands is removing my favorite playground and thus, the entire focus of my blog.

So while I can promise you I won’t be discussing health insurance or gun control, I will likely write about future environmental concerns and/or public land heist topics. Will this potentially alienate readership as I was told in that Facebook group? I hope not, if only because I like to think we are all adults who can calmly discuss volatile subjects. If you can respect my opinion, I promise to reciprocate.

The Earth is what we all have in common. ~Wendell Berry Click To Tweet

And if it does lead to a loss of readership, I can accept that too. Because we only get one planet and I’ll do everything I can to protect her.

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20 Comments

  • Reply Caryn January 23, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Thank you, Heather for keeping to your values on this topic. I am much more informed and able to take action by reading blogs and following insta accounts like you and Katie. I appreciate that you bring up these topics and provide the information/ research, which in turn points me in directions to research more. Seeing the White House website updates on topics that impact our Eartch are so very concerning.

  • Reply Amanda January 23, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Thank you, I think this is 100% the right approach!

  • Reply Kate January 23, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Thank you for not staying silent on these topics!

  • Reply Georgia Brown January 23, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Thank you for speaking up. As a fellow adventure blogger gal, I’m grateful to not be alone on this. Especially so with someone who has a much larger audience base than I do.

    I’ve been listening to the podcasts from #sheexplores around diversity in the outdoors and I’m wondering what your thoughts are. Have you covered the diversity in outdoors topic before?

    • Reply Heather January 23, 2017 at 10:26 am

      Hey Georgia! I love Gale over at She Explores; I was actually featured in one of her podcasts this past summer and recently met her in person at Outdoor Retailer 😉 But regarding diversity in the outdoors: the industry is lily-white and male driven, for sure. But the silver lining is that most people in the outdoor industry realize this and are onto the next step of figuring out how to change it. Personally, I have my M.Ed in Outdoor Education for At-Risk demographics and have done a fair bit of work with adaptive and underserved kiddos (all that stuff doesn’t necessarily make the blog all the time, though.) Back in November, 2015, Anagha and I began a #JustAnOutdoorGal series, featuring one outdoor woman per month. The idea is twofold: 1) To focus on everyday outdoor women who are doing awesome things, and 2) Showcase a diverse array of women, whether it be varying ethnicities, backgrounds, hobbies, etc. It’s a different type of diversity, for sure, but I’m hoping my small space on the internet can help just a bit! {If you want to see the features we’ve posted thus far, here you go: https://www.justacoloradogal.com/category/justanoutdoorgal/page/3 }

      • Reply Georgia Brown January 23, 2017 at 10:33 am

        Thanks! I’ll check it out for sure. I’m slowly figuring out my path as a new comer to the adventure space. I’d love any advice or perspective you can offer.

        Have a great day!

        • Reply Heather January 23, 2017 at 4:10 pm

          I’ll be hosting a reader survey in the next week or so, trying to gauge what readers are interested in reading about. Maybe include any questions and/or suggestions in there for topics you’d like to see in post format? Of course, you can always email me too. I’m abysmally slow at responding these days but I promise, I will eventually get back to you!

      • Reply Teresa Baker January 31, 2017 at 4:29 pm

        I actually work on efforts of diversity and inclusion in the outdoors. We really need more mainstream outdoor orgs to speak up and do the work to include more faces in outdoor spaces.

        • Reply Heather February 3, 2017 at 7:30 am

          Teresa, you were one of the first people I thought of. You’ve been doing a lot of great things to encourage diversity!

  • Reply Claude January 23, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Great approach to discussing issues; but skip the politics (I am however perplexed at your glorified report on trapping and can’t not draw a comparison to the Trump kids trophy hunting?, both despicable practices that incarnate a loathing of Nature and the Earth, no to mention torturing animals and subjecting them to tremendous suffering for hours, if not days).

    However, I’ve unsubscribed already from several blogs that relish condemning this administration b4 anything has occurred, one way or the other. About the only thing I’ve seen that has occurred via CNN, is UN-peaceful protest on inauguration day with windows of businesses being smashed, public property defaced, and other acts of willful destruction and disrespect.

    I will be the 1st to condemn assault on the Natural environment, if and when this does occur. But to lament that the world is coming to an end because of this election, and engage and support through blogs the destruction of property and assault on others shows me the hate and divisiveness is not where these bloggers direct their misguided rage.

    I knew you’d love NewZealand!

    • Reply Heather January 23, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      Hey! To be clear, the post that you’re referencing did not glorify trapping; it featured a woman named Caitlin who participates in a very male-dominated activity. The reason there was minimal info on trapping itself in that post is because it was not the point; Caitlin was the feature. I understand why so many people disliked the sentiment (personally, I don’t like or approve of trapping either). That said, if I were to only feature women who participate in sports and activities that I personally enjoy, I’d merely be contributing to the echo chamber, yanno?

      And yes, New Zealand was epic. I’m already hoping to get back soon!

      • Reply Carrie January 23, 2017 at 4:14 pm

        I was just talking about the concerns of living in an echo chamber today! Great post!

        • Reply Heather January 24, 2017 at 7:35 am

          Oh man. The echo chamber thing is huge. I realized that after the election, and especially considering we live near one of the most liberal bubbles in the country (Boulder). I’m making a point to get out this year and talk to people who don’t share my beliefs because while we may not agree, I’m hoping to gain a modicum of understanding about other perspectives. It can be tough.

  • Reply Sarah C January 23, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Nevermind the haters. I know this is part of your livelihood, but I can’t imagine wanting to keep readers who support an administration so hellbent on destroying our environment, economy, health, and standing in the world.

    • Reply Heather January 23, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      I promise to never, ever withhold my opinions solely to retain readership. I value my opinions too much 🙂

  • Reply Rene' with Hiking With Hendrix January 23, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Hello!

    Great approach and I will definitely be looking to all sources of information, including here, to be educated on the issues that are also very important to my world; the great outdoors!

  • Reply Mary Anne Surcouf January 23, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Hi Heather,
    When you said in a reply about diversity, I figured I’d send you this. I just stumbled upon this while on the National Parks site. I find it fascinating, and there is a “chapter” in the Denver area – https://www.meetup.com/Outdoor-Afro-Denver/ While it seems primarily to connect African-Americans to nature, the information said,” You don’t have to have an afro to participate.” I found it most interesting, because in my area, between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, many minorities participate in hunting and fishing, but not so much in camping, backpacking, and visiting National Parks. One older lady told me, “Girl, us and nature have had a sordid past. I don’t go out in the woods.” Everything from setting up a tent, to cooking on a camp stove and leave no trace principles are very foreign to many children in my area, unless they are involved in Boy/Girl Scouts. I have taken several kiddos with us on our family vacations over the years. It is difficult for them to unplug from the phone and enjoy the serenity! We have been to 8 or 9 National Parks and numerous other National Monuments, Historic Sites etc. and have noticed people from all over the world, yet our own Americans don’t visit these gorgeous sites. It is sad and scarey they do not see the importance. Check this out if you get a chance. My daughter and I enjoy your blog! Mary Anne

    https://www.nationalparks.org/connect/blog/how-get-your-nature-swagger-back?utm_source=goparks&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=goparks1-17

    • Reply Heather January 24, 2017 at 7:36 am

      Thanks for sharing this, Mary Anne! I met Rue, the founder of Outdoor Afro on a trip a few years ago and she is one amazing woman. I’ll definitely look into this!

  • Reply Leslie January 24, 2017 at 11:49 am

    I am so sad about our new presidents stance on science, public land, and the environment. Please keep fighting and sharing your opinion! We all need to.

    I just received notice that my federal research grant for geologic disasters and landslides is now canceled due to the hiring freeze, but I will continue to fight for science and our planet!

    • Reply Heather January 24, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Oh Leslie, I’m truly sorry to hear that. We need scientists like you now more than ever!

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