Fan mail, feedback, ideas & opinions

Letters to the Editor: Outdoor adventure politics

In response to “A Ripple in the Force” in ASJ #94

Outdoor adventure politics: Star Wars-inspired mountain scene

We Must Push Back
As for “toning down the politics,” I vote for you speaking the truth on social and environmental issues in the context of adventure/outdoors life here in California.  We don’t have the luxury of being non-polarizing or a-political. We must push back. ASJ is totally an appropriate platform for editorializing as far as I’m concerned. If readers are looking for a “pleasant escape from the realities of the world,” suggest that they climb on to a bike, board, trail, slope or rock.

Ask your editors to let you speak.

—Jeff M, Santa Barbara

Resist the Trump Agenda
I got ASJ at Get Fit Davis. Thank you for voicing your opinion about how bad our 45th president is, and for sure will be. Let’s never forget that Adolf Hitler was elected … and Donald, that “hijo de Putin,” was “elected” while in fact he was the biggest loser ever, with Hillary winning the popular vote by almost three million votes!

Let’s not wait passively until the 2020 elections. Please refer to the attached “Practical guide to resist the Trump agenda.”

Keep up the good work!

—Jean-Marc Leininger, Winters

Tone It Down
First of all I love your magazine and will keep reading most of the interesting stories that are included in your publication.

When I read your editorial in the Dec/Jan issue it kind of hit a nerve. I consider myself a conservative who loves the outdoors but obviously am not as informed or intelligent as you are.

I’d like to make an comment that the tone of your editorial is exactly why Trump won the elections. I know the people that voted for Trump are not up to your intellectual standards and most of us need to be educated so that we would understand your point of view more clearly.  Obviously if we were more educated our views would change to mirror yours.

I look forward to enjoying our magazine in the future ( I’ll get someone to read it to  me).

—Paul Hanson, South Lake Tahoe

Protect Our Environment
Poignant and eloquent Editor’s Note! As one of the coaches for our high school mountain bike team in Oakland, a fellow cyclist, skier, and general outdoor enthusiast – I truly think we need MORE personal accountability these days for environmental causes.

There is no way to mention this in  current media these days without accepting, and thereby acknowledging the wave of negativity, racism, and sexism that has come in tow with the current environmental climate change deniers.

I have often wondered why more companies like Nike, Red Bull, etc. do not do more to promote protecting our environment.

If you want to make money and market to active lifestyles, or even enjoy having an active lifestyle, you should be motivated to help protect all the the beauty that surrounds you, and speak up when others threaten it.

—Dara Richman, Oakland

Stay True
Us Nevadans ( I moved to Tahoe/Nevada side from Santa Cruz 32 years ago) agree with our western neighbor in preferring Hillary and her policies  over Trump.  I don’t think you can separate nature and politics and the worst thing anyone can do is to stay ‘escaped’ in nature and ignore the realities of the un-natural world. To paraphrase, ‘the only way for evil people  – and their policies if powerful enough – is for good people to do nothing’.  We wouldn’t have the nature we have now if it wasn’t for the John Muirs of the world out there fighting. We need educated, passionate people who are kept informed of important issues and give them the avenues to ‘fight the good fight’ even if they can’t be in the front lines themselves.  I’m also a Sierra Clubber and support their/our vision but that doesn’t mean I want all my other media input to be politics-free. For one thing, your bringing awareness to your readers might be the only source they are exposed to.  In addition, your opinion/thoughts might provide a perspective for me that  I hadn’t thought about and it might inspire me to take action of some sort.

I really enjoy your publication.  I myself was in the publishing world  there in Santa Cruz from ‘74-’84  co-owning a book publishing company (Unity Press) as well as a weekly,  “The Santa Cruz Express” , that provided the community with some other perspectives that “The Good Times” and Jay Shore lacked. Stay true to your “self”  and your vision. I, for one, enjoy it and hope the majority of your readers feel the same way so that you get a go-ahead/ endorsement from the rest of the editorial staff. I don’t think your advertisers will mind either.  Don’t restrict yourself with  “either-or” thinking.  Having a   “both-and”  mindset works best I think .

—Michael Caughlan, Gardnerville

Too Much Politics is not Zen

I  love your writing and your magazine is always great to read for me! Just read your editorial on FB and it is a very good question you are asking. I absolutely think that our great lands and environment need protection. It is what “makes America great” IMO.:) I love the outdoors, I love the water, the beach, the mountains and most important, I love the access to these places.

Do these social and environmental causes belong in an adventure journal? I think yes if advances and supports the cause of clean and accessible adventure, pursuit of relaxation, and love of our outdoors, but the other side of that coin to me is that, I tend to find my “zen” from the daily grind, Trump and shitty politics, their divisive  rhetoric enjoying the adventure and nature that we are so fortunate to experience. So I guess what I am trying to say, if there is a legit and specific cause to rally like minded folks around that support our values, our cherished California abundance and nature and our ability to live and play in a clean and safe environment, then do it!! I support it!..if it is more general unspecified whining, then I would leave it alone. (I haven;t seen what people are complaining about)..but there are too many sources of people, sites, and platforms that communicate political views that continue to perpetuate that divisive view that I start to wonder about their angle and overall, Intend to take a critical view that the site/blog/mediasource has an alternative agenda, in which it risks tuning me out.

And since you might’s a shot of my California zen! Not thinking politics at any time, just enjoying what we have.  nothing quite like it mate!

—Mike Crowell, San Francisco

Politics and Adventure Are Intertwined

Thanks for your continued contribution of the ASJ!

I believe as well that separating politics and adventure sports is not possible. They are so intertwined and we feel so strongly about our environment that we cannot turn a blind eye or crawl into our bubble and look away. Our people are hurting, they are disheartened and frustrated. We need to help them heal and to stand strong.

The tragedy of this election could have been easily averted if people just showed up to vote. We need to help people assemble and understand that together we do have power. Lack of leadership is a major problem for this hope an understanding to take hold. We desperately need a leader that is strong, powerful and shares our morals for humanity and the environment. I continue, as I always have, to fight for our environment, to teach others and to practice compassion for others. When the right leadership is presented I will whole heartedly give my full support and be present.

I think the important lesson here is that we do support the candidates and policies that are closest to our beliefs. We need to participate and not sit idle or throw a tantrum like a chid when our perfect ideal is not realized. Change can take  a long time and it can take many small steps. As you mention so often, adventure sports are not just recreation for us, they are a way of life and a connection to our environment, it’s where we get our strength and energy. Anything that important is worth fighting for and spreading awareness.

Keep writing the way you do, it’s great food for thought and just may inspire your readers to get off their ass, not just to go for a bike ride, but to vote and speak.

—Paul Allen, Santa Cruz

Mission Awareness
I love your desire to engage and your openness to accept input. In my opinion, I believe your question should be framed in the context of the journal’s mission statement. I don’t see it on the website, so I cannot comment on it specifically. It should be your Magna Carta. If “expanded coverage” fits with the current mission, go forward. If not, look for another way to meet the need.

I enjoy dessert and don’t feel guilty when I indulge. That does not mean I put chocolate chips into my salad. Dessert is something distinct and does not effect the integrity of my salad. Examine the purpose of the magazine carefully before making any major change to business as usual.

—Tim McKenna, Houston

Wrong Message
First of all, in your Editor’s Note, you said Leonie Sherman traveled to South Dakota to write about Standing Rock. If you don’t even know that it’s in NORTH Dakota, maybe you shouldn’t be publishing an article about it in Adventure Sports Journal?

I have lived and adventured in Lake Tahoe for years now, but I grew up 20 miles from Standing Rock. My family and friends still live there and have a much different view of the situation. Your story is biased, and has no place in ASJ. These protesters should have been protesting lawfully, for the past two years, in the courts and meetings that allowed this pipeline to be built. You are sending the wrong message to your readers. If you really want them to be active in stopping climate change and fighting for environmental issues, they need to do it the right way (lawfully and peacefully) during the process, not when the project is 98% complete.

And one more thing, the protesters vandalized a bridge on a major highway in North Dakota, closing it for the past couple of months. This closure is preventing North Dakotans from getting to the places that they love to hunt, hike, bike, and enjoy the outdoors. I would say THAT has more importance in a publication about ADVENTURE than biased politics does.

—Tracy Schmidt, Truckee

Too Much

Your staff was right, that was a pretty weird and unfortunate editorial(s).

Bear in mind, much of the country you “drive through” to get to your various playgrounds shares the same values as “fly over” country.

While I haven’t agreed 100% with your editorial reviews in the past, I still have picked up your mag for the other articles and ads. Being called, by association, a racist woman hating destroyer of the planet and little girl’s dreams is a bit much.

Ride a bike, do some push-ups, have a beer and chill out. I command it! (Read in the voice of your Sith Lord of choice.)

—Kenrick Walz, Santa Cruz

Spot On

Your Editor’s Note was spot on and I do think ASJ should continue down the path of expanded coverage for environmental and social causes. One way you might consider doing that is to cover some of the innovative things people and companies are doing to make a positive difference as it relates to the environment or social issues. The feel good stories.

Things like Patagonia giving 100% of their Black Friday sales to organizations fighting climate change, or Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows working with local energy providers to remove coal from the grid it gets power from, or Sierra-at-Tahoe and Squaw eliminating the sale of plastic water bottles. There are so many examples of companies and people who are doing great things because it’s the right thing to do.

—Jess VanPernis Weaver, Kings Beach

Time for Action
I fully agree with your decision to address political issues. There was a time where outdoor enthusiasts could legitimately be a D or an R, but those days are long since passed. A clear dividing line emerged when GW Bush broke his campaign promise to combat climate change. Trump is a doubling down of the Republican party’s war on the environment.

I’m a “Decline to State” independent voter in CA. I don’t like the Democrats much either. But if a person cares anything about the planet, they cannot vote Republican (at least not in federal elections) without betraying those values. It couldn’t be more black and white.

I’m not advocating for your paper to push one party or another. But you cannot remain silent on the issues and our politicians’ actions and positions on those issues. Not doing so in the face of such blistering contrast and pivotal times would make you complicit in the destruction of the very thing you exist to promote.

The time for spectating is over. Fictional dichotomies of values and politics are over. Action is the only integrity! And honesty to these truths is a journalist’s prime directive. Speak up!

—Donald Simon, Oakland

Adventure Only

I will never read your publication again. Stick to adventure not politics. You’ve lost me as a reader.

—Vickie Woodring


In response to “A Beer Worth Earning: New Belgium Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip” in ASJ #94

I like a lot of New Belgium’s beers but this is a bit much. I do like flavored beer, but this just seems a rehash of the 90s micro explosion. Good craft beer needs to be focused on beer flavored beer, not fruit, desserts or cookies. —Chris Thomas


Outdoor adventure politics: Reader letters and magazine covers

In response to online article “The Pros and Cons of Hot Yoga” by Dara Richman

So much of this rings true. I have found myself pushing way past my comfort zones during hot yoga, leading me to injure my knee in a pose- an injury that prevented me from doing any yoga beyond basic stretching (let alone any other weight-bearing exercise) for almost a year. I love hot yoga and will continue to practice, with caution and increased awareness, listening closely when my body says “stop.” Thanks for the valuable insight Dara! —Celeste Kopel, Berkeley


Outdoor adventure politics: Cyclist riding through forest trail

In response to online Profiles in Courage article on Joceyln Judd by Domenica Berman

What a wonderful, inspiring story. Go Jocelyn! —Scott Cameron

What well written article. Your magazine is blessed to have such an insightful journalist who brings a story to life. —John Denison, Gold Coast – Australia

I am so fortunate to know the beautiful young lady that wrote  this article. She is a very special, talented person. —Dicksie Patterson, City

Switchback Results

Dec/Jan: Will the Election Affect the Adventure Sports Community?

50% —  Yes // 28% ­— Not Sure // 22% — No

Looks like most of our readers think the new administration will affect the outdoor community.
Go to our Switchback page to chime in on this and our new question for Feb/March.

Chime In

Tell us how you “Earn Your Beer” • Share your “Van Life” and “Adventure Dog” stories • Respond to our articles and Editor’s Note



Read other backpacking & hiking posts here.