14 Inside Outdoor | SUMMER 2020 By Martin Vilaboy T he effort to increase di- versity and become more inclusive within the outdoor community is multi-faceted and across multiple fronts. While there is much hard work still to do, the industry and community certainly has expressed renewed interest in working to improve participation and bolster employment of underrepresented per- sons. But maybe along with making the opportunities and activities more appealing and inviting to these populations, the outdoor industry and the outdoor ex- perience need to be taken to where those populations currently exists. In other words, maybe the outdoor industry has a problem with its geography gap. Let’s face it, the hubs of human-powered outdoor recreation and the outdoorsy cities and towns we cherish, particularly in the West, are generally as white as the snow that falls at the higher elevations there. Across the United States, and both urban and rural areas, Black people account for just more than 13 percent of the U.S. popu- lation, according to U.S. Census figures. The U.S. state with the highest proportion of Black people is Mississippi (37.3 percent), show 2010 U.S. Census figures, the most recent compiled by state. At the bottom among U.S. states is Montana, which is about 0.7 percent Black. The median across all 56 U.S. states and territories is 8 percent. Yet regularly, our industry holds its events, gather- ings, conferences and consumer mega-festivals in states ranked very low on the list in terms of percent- age of Black residents. Colorado, for instance, home of the outdoor industry’s largest trade show, ranks 36th with just 4.3 percent of its population being Diversity efforts can consider ‘where’ as much as ‘how’ TheOutdoor Industry’s Geography Gap The Advocates