A couple of weekends ago, I paddled along with a group of mostly first-time Adirondack canoeists as they watched loons and enjoyed the soothing waters of Little Green Pond and Little Clear Pond — adjacent water bodies near Paul Smiths and the St. Regis Canoe Area wilderness. It was a rare occasion in this park when I stood out for the color of my skin — white. And that was by design.
As we’ve reported previously at the Adirondack Explorer, the very whiteness of the Adirondacks can feel somewhat disorienting or unwelcoming for people of color, and the state, the Adirondack North Country Association and others are working to create a more inclusive park. Another group working on that problem — here and around the United States — is called Outdoor Afro. I met a trip coordinator with that group earlier this summer at a celebration of the John Brown Farm State Historic Site, and she told me of her plans to bring a group to the ponds. I asked if I could come along and document the effort on our website and in our magazine, and one result is a video I produced for the Explorer’s YouTube channel. While you’re there, subscribe to that page for free to keep track of our expanding Adirondack video offerings.
If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a story about the outing on our website, and we’ll have a longer version with more details of the park’s diversity effort in our September-October magazine issue.
Above photo: Peggie Allen, left, and Gail Hammond paddle with other participants in an Outdoor Afro group outing in the Adirondacks in mid-July. The outing was intended to introduce people of color to paddling in the park, and to loon ecology. Photo by Kris Parker
Editor’s note: This first appeared in Brandon’s weekly “Explore More” newsletter. Click here to sign up.