Published June 2, 2017
For gay people who have grown up in cities or fled there for safety in numbers, spending time in the wilderness can be an intimidating prospect. However, local LGBTQ hikers and campers are challenging what it means to be an “outdoors person,” taking their pride outside to Washington’s many gorgeous public parks and trails.
Two Washingtonians, Mikah Meyer and his partner Andy Waldron (whom we profiled before they began their trip last year), are trying to become the youngest people to visit all 417 national park units. The National Park Service (NPS) reached out to Meyer, encouraging him to tell his story as part of their Find Your Park campaign. The couple’s goal is to make parks welcoming to nontraditional park users, and they hope more representation will help attract LGBTQ people as they work to make outdoors spaces and cultural institutions more inclusive.
“It’s not simply saying that all are welcome. It’s about saying, ‘Are all people safe? Are their stories being told?’” says Michael Liang, NPS visual information specialist and gay “spokesranger.”
“It’s okay to put pressure on parks, because we are supposed to serve all Americans.” Read more here.