Nicole Snell, an adventure leader for Black Girls Trekkin’, sees hope around every bend in the trail. In a recent interview for Greater Outdoors for UPROXX, Snell proclaimed, “I think things are changing. The stereotype of who belongs in the outdoors or who’s welcome in the outdoors or who you even see in the outdoors is changing because there are so many groups like ours that are trying to change that narrative.”
It’s often overlooked just how widely minorities were segregated or outright barred from the outdoors and how recently that shifted. Up until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Black, Indigenous, and various other people of color were either segregated while entering U.S. national parks or, in some cases, barred entirely from entering. That very real discrimination created a gap in how different groups of Americans engaged with nature that still has echoes in the present day.
“Our mission really is to promote diversity and inclusion in the outdoors,” she says. “It’s just making sure that there are more of us out there [in nature] and feeling comfortable.”
While getting out into nature is a big part of what groups like Black Girls Trekkin’ do, it’s also about physical and mental health, finding a community, and healing of trauma. Both Snell and Lowe agree that a big part of why they love leading hiking groups is that they’ve found people who share in their love of the outdoors and are looking for a way to engage in nature on a deeper level, which is a powerful draw.
You can watch the whole segment above to learn more about the important work these members of Black Girls Trekkin’ are doing. For more ways to get out into the outdoors yourself, check out the 2021 Uproxx Fall Experience Guide.