Meet trailblazer and A.T. thru-hiker Daniel White\r\nThe outdoors has a race problem.\u00a0Only one out of every five visitors to national parks nation-wide is nonwhite. Minority groups face multiple barriers that prevent them from getting outside, including transportation, fees, equipment, and access to information. Unfortunately, the largest barrier is fear\u2014of racism, discrimination, and not fitting in.\u00a0 Daniel White, a North Carolina native, was acutely aware of those barriers and that fear when he started his Appalachian Trail trek in April of last year.\u00a0 \u00a0\r\nWhite grew up in Shiloh, a historically African-American, low-income neighborhood in Asheville, N.C.\u00a0 Though Shiloh is nestled conveniently between Pisgah National Forest and Nantahala National Forest, Daniel never hiked or camped a day in his life until he was 31.\r\nFed up with the daily grind and longing for a simpler and more natural life, he took the advice of a cousin and set off to hike the A.T. for a couple of months.\u00a0 Instead of stopping after two months, however, Daniel ended up hiking the entire trail, chronicling his journey on YouTube and Facebook along the way.\u00a0 He loved hiking through the White Mountains in New Hampshire and cooking fish freshly caught in the Hundred Mile Wilderness in Maine.\u00a0 Daniel speaks fondly of kind people he encountered who offered him snacks and cool drinks, part of the Trail Magic often experienced on the A.T. He also recalls the thrill of seeing his first moose, and the healthy respect he holds for bears on the trail.\r\nLike many A.T. hikers, Daniel chose a trail name\u2014The Blackalachian.\u00a0 His moniker started conversations immediately. Though initially his hike was a personal escape, it quickly became a path to bring awareness to the race issue in the outdoors. White met only one other thru-hiker of color on the entire six-month, 2,190-mile journey. He encountered fewer than ten day hikers of color. The vast majority of trail users were white Americans and Europeans.\r\nUpon returning from the trail, White invited many friends to go on simple day hikes with him, but was turned down, often out of fear.\u00a0 \u201cYoung black people are taught not to go into the woods,\u201d he says. \u201cThey\u2019re taught that\u2019s where beatings and lynchings happen.\u00a0 That\u2019s just the way it is.\u00a0 They\u2019re more afraid of racists than bears and snakes.\u00a0 I definitely was, too, when I was on the trail.\u201d\r\nWhat can be done to make the outdoors a more welcoming place for people of diverse backgrounds? White suggested bringing awareness to the issue simply by talking about it, inviting friends of color out again\u2014even if they turn you down the first time, and continuing to post pictures and videos. \u201cKeep it simple. Build the love,\u201d he says. \u201cWork up slowly, first with day hikes, and then maybe weekend trips.\u00a0 Make going outside look cool and fun \u2014because it is! They don\u2019t know what they\u2019re missing.\u201d\r\nSpecifically, he said that children need to be exposed to the wonders of the outdoors early on.\u00a0 \u201cChildren aren\u2019t born full of fear,\u201d White says.\u00a0 \u201cThey\u2019re taught that later by their parents and society.\u201d\r\nWhite is continuing to do his part to keep the dialogue going.\u00a0 Instead of hiking classic long-distance trails, his next endeavor will be to bike the historic Underground Railroad.\u00a0 This trail begins in Mobile, Alabama and stretches through Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and New York, eventually ending at the Canadian border.\u00a0 An estimated 100,000 men, women, and children used this trail while escaping slavery from the late 1700s to 1860, particularly during the American Civil War.\r\nAlready in Charlotte, N.C., where he is training, White has seen many motorists behaving rudely and dangerously toward cyclists sharing the roads, and that makes him nervous but determined for this trip. After finishing the Railroad, he would like to hike the Trail of Tears to bring awareness to the political challenges faced by Native Americans today.\r\nWhite is not alone in his efforts to make the outdoors more accessible. Brothers of Climbing, Brown Girls Climb, GirlVenture, Everybody\u2019s Environment, and Outdoor Afro are groups working in this neck of the woods to reach a wider outdoor audience.\r\n\u201cGet out there,\u201d says White. \u201cInvite your friends. Stop the fear. Be a trailblazer.\u201d\r\nSupport The Blackalachian\u2019s adventures on GoFundMe, and follow his progress in real time on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.