The Oregon Forest Is for Everybody, Not Just Stereotypes

It’s hard to feel like you can be an active part of a culture that you simply don’t see yourself reflected in.

What do you see when you picture a Pacific Northwest hiker?

You probably don’t have to think too hard about it. The prevailing Oregonian outdoor-enthusiast archetype is: natural blond ponytail microbrew Dutch Brothers kayak Subaru.

But that’s not necessarily what you might see out on the trails.

Take, for example, Kisha Jarrett, a Northwest hiker whose film Black Girl in the Woods is a self-examining documentary, exploring her relationship to her chronic illness and the lack of representation she feels as a dedicated hiker and outdoor enthusiast.

My own complicated relationship to the outdoors is what excites me about Kisha’s work. It’s hard to feel like you can be an active part of a culture that you simply don’t see yourself reflected in. And since the best part of living in the Northwest is discovering evergreen trails dotted with wild salmonberries in the springtime, standing under glacial waterfalls in the summer, and breathing in mountain wind at the onset of fall, it’s kind of critical that those experiences are authentically accessible to everyone who lives here. Not just those with kayak-topped Subarus.

Admittedly, I did not ask Jarret if or what kind of car she drove. I, on the other hand, drive a Subaru.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.

Listen on Spotify.