Editorial: Where Do We Go From Here?

Over the past several months, Donald Trump has sent strong messages that his future administration will not share values with the outdoor community. Among other things, he has supported those who staged armed occupations of wildlife refuges, denied climate science, and called for more dirty energy and industrial-level resource extraction on public lands.

We cannot possibly know what the future holds for those of us who enjoy recreating in the outdoors, but we are quite certain that the places we love are going to need every ounce of our help in the coming years.

Although a vast majority of the content on Modern Hiker has been and will continue to be helpful articles that inspire you to explore new places and learn about the world around you, we also pledge to continue our tradition of outdoor journalism as the site moves forward. We will remain vigilant and will do our best to keep you informed and engaged about new threats to the outdoors and — hopefully — celebrate our victories as well.

You may be caught in a feeling of helplessness right now, reflexively refreshing your social media feeds for new sources of outrage and commiseration. We urge you not to lose hope and not to let inertia and inaction take over.

There are hundreds of outdoor advocacy and volunteer groups that needed your help before the election and need it even more so now, no matter how you love to enjoy the outdoors or where you love to do it. Donate. Volunteer. Organize a work day. Sign up for mailing lists. Get in touch with your representatives to let them know you value the outdoors (and remember, calling is more effective than emailing). Get involved beyond just enjoying the land and start to become a steward.

Most importantly, get outside as soon as you can. Turn off your phones and take deep breaths. And when you see someone else on the trail, say hello to them. Let people know that even though the national conversation has become outright venomous, the outdoor community is an inclusive one — and our public lands are places that belong to everyone regardless of background, ideology, income, gender, identity, language, skin melanin levels, or beliefs. Every person deserves the chance to responsibly enjoy our protected natural spaces and nobody should feel excluded from that experience.

Ask how they’re doing and listen to their stories. Talk to a hunter. Ask a mountain biker how her ride was or a climber about the problems they tackled. Cheer on a trail runner. Offer a snack to a thru-hiker. Help a family of beginners with advice. Give a friendly wave to an off-roader.

It is through conversations like these that we can welcome newcomers and bridge the divides within our own community. The challenges ahead will be difficult, but by working together we can ensure that our public lands are protected during the next four years and for generations to come.

See you on the trail soon,

Casey Schreiner

Founder and Editor-in-Chief

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