Appalachian Trail Histories


Outdoor Afro

Rulette Mapp, Founder of Outdoor Afro

Outdoor Afro is an organization founded by a woman by the name of Rulette Mapp. Her vision consisted of creating an organization that helped men and women of color feel more comfortable in nature, particularly hiking. Outdoor Afro is an organization primarily based on the west coast having only one location in Washington D.C; however, Rue Mapp has day hiked parts of the AT several times. Her experience as a black woman in a place where historically, she has not been socially accepted was the main inspiration for the founding of Outdoor Afro. Mapp wanted to create an avenue that enables men and women of color to feel comfortable and accepted in the great outdoors. She describes that one contributing factor to the lack of minority hikers is the simple fact that they don’t feel like they have a sense of belonging in nature. Outdoor activities such as hiking camping and biking are viewed as only places for white Americans, however Mapp has plans to expand Outdoor Afro to the east coast in order to encourage as many people of color as possible to find their place in nature.

Plastered on their website, Outdoor Afro’s motto is “Where Black People and Nature Meet”. Also, their logo creatively consists of a dark outline of an African American figure with an afro being grown out by a tree. When navigating the website, you can search state by state to see if there is an Outdoor Afro community near you. After searching “Virginia”, 4 representatives in the DMV area showed up in the results. Interestingly enough one of the representatives by the name of Leah Young is right here in Fairfax. There is a “meet up” tab that you can click to get in contact with your local Outdoor Afro representative to start planning your trip.