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15 Jul 2024

Based in Seattle, Wash., Glenn Nelson is an accomplished entrepreneurial journalist who founded The Trail Posse to explore the intersection of race and the outdoors. He has decades of experience as a founder/co-founder of three digital companies, communications executive, inclusion and anti-racism leader, and national-award-winning writer, photographer and web publisher.

Nelson recently led an inclusive, yearlong renaming and re-branding effort for Seattle Audubon to Birds Connect Seattle that garnered input from more than 1,000 stakeholders and was the subject of dozens of national and local media stories. In 2023, he was included in the inaugural People of Color Environmental Professionals: Profiles of Courage and Leadership by the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Sustainability Initiative at Yale School of the Environment (JEDSI).

A print journalist who branched into web publishing and still and video photography, Nelson has earned awards from the likes of Society of Environmental Journalists, Online Journalism Awards, Society of Professional Journalists, Associated Press Sports Editor, Audubon Photography Awards, and Bird Photographer of the Year. He has been profiled by NPR and has had a photo in an exhibit at The Smithsonian.

After nearly two decades at The Seattle Times, Nelson became a founding executive at, co-founded, founded and sold HoopGurlz to ESPN, and founded The Trail Posse, which has partnered with High Country News, the National Audubon Society, and the Mountaineers. He also was a senior executive at The Maven Coalition (now The Arena Group) where, among other things, he oversaw diversity, equity, and inclusion during the George Floyd killing.

Nelson also is a founding member of the Next 100 Coalition, a national alliance of civil rights, environmental and community groups advocating for more inclusive management of public lands, and a founding steering committee member of the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge, which advises outdoor brands on DEI work. A graduate of Seattle University and Columbia University, he was born in Japan and started his career at The Seattle Times. He later founded HoopGurlz (now at ESPN), which covered girl’s basketball and college prospects nationally, and helped found, a network of sports websites. Nelson is the primary author of a teen book about the NBA, has been published in numerous magazines and book collections, had his photographic work appear at the Smithsonian, and has been profiled by NPR. He also serves on the board of Seattle Jazz Fellowship, as well as the Washington Governor’s advisory committee on outdoor recreation, the advisory committee for the Japanese American Remembrance Trail, and the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Task Force.

Nelson loves his family and dog, as well as the arts, movies, books, and travel. He has served on five boards and volunteered for several community task forces and committees. He also has been a keynote speaker, presenter, and panelist for more than two dozen different conferences, organizations and government entities, including:

* National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance
* Olympic National Park
* Washington State Trails Coalition
* University of Washington Alumni Association
* American Society for Environmental History
* Choose Your Adventure
* Cultural Relevancy and Inclusion in Outdoor Organizations
* Forterra Northwest
* Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
* Mountaineers
* National Parks Conservation Association
* National Park Service
* New Horizons in Conservation
* Organization of American Historians
* Public Interest Environmental Law
* Regional Trails Coalition
* Refuge Outdoor Festival
* Seattle Audubon
* The Seattle Times
* Wasatch Audubon
* Washington Parks and Recreation Commission
* Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office
* Washington Trails Association
* Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Click Here for Glenn’s Photographic Portfolio

Click Here for NPR Feature

Click Here for Interview with NPR-affiliate KNKX

Click Here for Seattle Magazine Profile

Citation for Special Topic Column Writing, Best of the West: “Tremendously smart localization and elevation of topics we all needed to keep our eyes trained on in 2020.”

Citation for Outstanding Beat Reporting, Society of Environmental Journalists: “Glenn Nelson’s work deftly tackles issues of race and diversity in the outdoors, repeatedly exploring the experiences that can make us fall in love with nature, and the social and economic circumstances, and cultural differences that can keep a person of color from finding and deepening those connections. His pieces grapple with the homogeneity that is exacerbating a decline in the national park system and limiting the breadth of the environmental movement. Mr. Nelson’s writing also resonates with personal insight, lending an emotional depth to his stories.”

Citation for two nominations, Courage Awards, “Glenn Nelson, whose Trail Posse has become a must-read for outdoors enthusiasts and those concerned with diversity in the outdoors, holding National Park Service feet to the fire. Encouraging the embrace of nature by broad population, doing this with words, but also spectacular photography and an incredible passion on this topic. He has raised visibility and in a very short period of time put himself at center of debate on these issues.”

Twenty-Five Best & Brightest, Outdoor Retailer Daily: “Politeness doesn’t go far in the change-the-world business. That’s why Glenn Nelson doesn’t let it get in the way. He identifies an underserved population and focuses his reporting until others notice. The formula works. When he realized high school girls’ basketball was undercovered, he started a website called HoopGurlz, eventually selling it to ESPN. Now, he has turned his direction to another issue: the lack of diversity in outdoor spaces. Nelson founded The Trail Posse to motivate and tell the stories of minority populations. He recently joined High Country News as a contributing editor covering race and public lands. “He’s willing to question what’s going on and ask the tough questions,” says Paul Larmer, HCN’s executive director and publisher. “The world needs Glenn Nelsons out there, pushing on these issues.”

For more, please see:

What If I’m Not White?

The Buzz: Glenn Nelson