We have a long history of denial regarding diversity and equity in the use of outdoor spaces, and need a short road to recovery.

Trails connect us to the outdoors, open our senses and give us peace. We are moved to share their diverse beauty, through photos, boasting of colors: flowers in the spring, sunsets in the summer, leaves changing in autumn, and scenes of snow in the winter. So why is it that, when we gaze over the river of people flowing along these same trails, we are denied (or neglect) the opportunity to appreciate the colors of humankind? We have a long history of denial regarding diversity and equity in the use of outdoor spaces, and need a short road to recovery.

Fox Cities Greenways is carving a path in Northeast Wisconsin where over 400,000 people live and welcome all to experience our history and splendor. Through our partnership with East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, our collective plans include $20 million in trail projects being built by the end of 2022. 

The 2020 Fox Cities Trail Summit brought together planners, parks officials and community development professionals from 16 municipalities to compare notes and set priorities for the region’s bicycle and pedestrian trail network. Through thoughtful design, the culture of this project reaches beyond an asphalt path. We are dedicated to creating spaces where all people feel comfortable renewing their well-being.

As a Fox Cities Greenways Board Member I have the opportunity to work with thousands of people in our region who have the vision of a trail culture beyond physical design. Like many, we seek and appreciate all diversity, it is the heart of building a strong and caring community. On Tuesday, October 27th we are gathering online at the Fox Cities Trail Summit – Fall Follow Up: Focus on Equity and Inclusion, with expert Dudley Edmondson, to connect the dots as to why people of color are under-represented in outdoor activities. We welcome you to join and grow with us.