New partnership with Black Folks Camp Too will help energize NC outdoors with greater diversity
Feb 25, 2021
Take action for more unity in the great outdoors.
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is partnering with Black Folks Camp Too to encourage participation and engagement with diverse communities through the department’s new Parks and Trails for Health (PATH) initiative. PATH combines physical activity in parks, greenways, and other outdoor spaces in North Carolina with educational opportunities.
Black Folks Camp Too is a marketing-driven business whose mission is to increase diversity in the outdoor industry by making it easier, more interesting and more fun for Black folks to go camping. BFCT helps to remove fears, add knowledge and invite more Black families to build memories and strengthen family bonds by camping and spending time outdoors.
“The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is excited to partner with Black Folks Camp Too to help launch our Parks and Trails for Health, or PATH, initiative,” said Secretary Reid Wilson. “Black Folks Camp Too will bring energy, creativity, and community engagement to our campaign to encourage ALL North Carolinians to get outdoors for healthy physical activity in parks, greenways, trails, and other outdoor spaces.”
Black Folks Camp Too was founded in 2019 by Earl B. Hunter, Jr. As an executive in the RV/outdoor industry, Hunter was constantly reminded about the need for greater unity across our nation’s great state and local parks, campgrounds, waterways and trails. What stood out more than anything to Hunter was a massive missed opportunity for Black Folks AND outdoor brands. What Hunter now calls the Outdoor Industry ROI — Return on Inclusion.
“It’s just a fact — Black Folks are not enjoying the life-giving benefits of spending time outside in nature,” Hunter says. “And outdoor brands have not found a successful way to engage with this valuable consumer. Yes, removing fear is part of the answer, but so is offering knowledge and simply extending more invitations. This is why we are so pumped to be partnering with the state of North Carolina’s DNCR PATH initiative.”
Positive changes are slowly beginning to take place in the outdoor industry. According to the 2019 North American Camping Report from Kampgrounds of America, the percentage of new campers from multicultural groups (51%), outpaced the percentage of white campers (49%).
The 2018 North American Camping Report from Kampgrounds of America shows that the percentage of American campers who are Black rose from 6 to 8 percent between 2012 and 2017. The report also found that 14% of new campers in 2017 were Black, and 34 percent of non-white millennials said they began camping in the past few years, compared to 18% of white millennials. Campers under age 25 are the most ethnically diverse, according to the report.
Visit www.ncdcr.gov/PATH to learn more about PATH and find links to suggested activities at state parks, historic sites and museums.