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06 Dec 2023

Based in Seattle, Wash., Glenn Nelson is the founder of The Trail Posse, which explores the intersection of race and the outdoors. He also is Community Director, leading anti-racism activities for Seattle Audubon. Nelson has won several national awards for his writing, photography and Web publishing, including second place in 2020 from Best of the West for his columns on race for Crosscut and South Seattle Emerald, first-place honors from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2018, 2019 and 2020 for his columns on race for Crosscut and Outstanding Beat Reporting (Race, Inclusion and Environmental Justice) from the Society of Environmental Journalists. His photography is published in Bird Photographer of the Year and has been honored by North American Nature Photograhy Association and Share the View.

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.

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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