The why: Having been part of the trail running and outdoors community in the Pacific Northwest for the past 10 years, I’ve been fortunate enough that my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. Never have I felt discriminated against based on the color of my skin or felt unwelcomed to any extent. I’ve been able to meet like-minded people who I consider to be lifelong adventure buddies. And yet when I toe the line at races or attend casual group runs, rarely do I see anyone that looks like me.  This prompted my friend Helen Schuckers and me to create a survey to learn the subtle, but real challenges people (specifically in the BIPOC – Black, Indigenous People of Color) face when entering a new sport or community.  We wanted to open up a dialogue and redefine what it means to be “outdoorsy”.

Kevin Ng pacing his friend Eric at Fat Dog 120 in E.C Manning Provincial Park, British Columbia.

 
By the numbers:
  1. 17 PNW outdoor online communities received this survey
  2. 118 participants filled out the survey
  3. 90% of those participants believe more BIPOC representation is needed in the outdoor community
  4. 70% of the participants of the survey were female
  5. 60% of the participants said cost of equipment was the biggest barrier to entering a new sport
The takeaway:
  1. Surveys inherently come with assumptions and limitations, so the conversation must continue outside of this survey.
  2. Creating opportunities for people with disabilities is an area we need to bring to light and focus on.
  3. Family structure plays a large role in the BIPOC communities, and needs to be taken into consideration when providing outdoor opportunities.
  4. Engage and include the Immigrant and Refugee communities.
  5. The “outdoors” are more than trails and slopes.
  6. There is not one way to be inclusive and affect positive change, change starts when conversations happen and continue.

Helen Schuckers doing her thing riding waves on the Oregon coast. (Kelly Carmody)

 

How can we continue to grow?
  1. Share these results with your network, outdoor organizations, and brands to bring awareness towards the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the outdoors within PNW and beyond.
  2. Continue to learn and share resources related to BIPOC and the outdoors.
  3. Continue to share your outdoor story to help lift up BIPOC voices in the outdoors.

Survey Results

 

Kevin celebrating his birthday running laps at Lastest Not Fastest.

Helen, her husband Tim and pup urban skiing around the neighborhood during a snow storm.