A New Tool for Local Governments to Diversify Outdoor Spaces and…

Local communities across the United States have a new resource available to help them diversify their outdoor spaces and programs, thanks to a model resolution released today at the Outdoor Economy Conference by a coalition of partners including the In Solidarity Project, Growing Outdoors Partnership, and the NC Recreation and Park Association.

This Outdoor Diversity Resolution is a resource for all communities interested in making their outdoor spaces a key asset in building an inclusive and healthy community. The model resolution is inspired by the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge, which businesses and nonprofits can commit to as a powerful tool connecting leading outdoor brands with inclusion advocates to advance representation for people of color across the outdoor industry.

“As the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge has spread across the country and around the globe, we kept hearing from local and state government leaders who wanted an equivalent document they could sign and commit to,” said Teresa Baker, founder of the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge and In Solidarity. “We are excited to announce this new resolution so that government organizations can move forward along with the Pledge’s business and nonprofit partners in diversifying the outdoors.”

The outdoors are essential for our communities – both the individual people who need outdoor access for their own health, and for the community itself via things like heat island reduction, flood control, and climate resilience. The Resolution lays out the benefits of time spent outdoors, what has led to a lack of diversity in outdoor spaces, and what specific steps local communities can take to ensure that their outdoor spaces and programs are more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive.

This Resolution grew out of the “Growth Through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” working group of the Outdoor Economy Conference, which held up the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge as a clear step forward that conference attendees could take and noted the need for a government equivalent. Diquan Edmonds, program coordinator at the NC Recreation and Park Association, reached out to Baker and her Pledge co-founder Chris Perkins to see if something already existed.

When it turned out there was not something like this in place, Edmonds led the development of a model resolution that could easily be adapted to fit the needs of communities across North Carolina and nationwide, while the In Solidarity Project volunteered to host the Resolution alongside the Pledge on their website, and to help reach out to the many communities that had contacted them asking for a tool like this Resolution.

“We know that action starts in our local communities,” said Edmonds. “We are excited to empower professionals, volunteers, and community members with the tools to coordinate action across North Carolina and get this resolution implemented. The biggest opportunity comes from working with peers across the country to create shared learning and accountability nationwide.”

Conference organizers are excited to see the resolution emerge and take on a life of its own. “This resolution is such a clear way to ensure that whatever kind of organization you are—a business, nonprofit, or government entity—you can make a public commitment to diversify the outdoors,” says Outdoor Economy Conference organizer Noah Wilson. “What starts here can quickly take root across the country and even the globe, because everyone needs access to open spaces, wild places, and great jobs. And that starts with us taking responsibility for just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive access to outdoor places and the outdoor industry in our own communities.”

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