Since she launched OutdoorAfro.com two years ago, Rue Mapp has been working tirelessly to reconnect African Americans with the Great Outdoors. In case you haven’t seen it, her website is filled with stories, photos, videos and event listings that enable African Americans to network with each other for hiking, bicycling, camping, river rafting, rock climbing and other activities in nature. Mapp will take her efforts a step further Aug. 12th to 14th when she travels to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada with her nephew and three children for a three-day camping trip at Ponderosa Resort in Lotus.
“I’m wondering what people’s reaction will be,” Mapp said, noting that most folks aren’t accustomed to seeing African Americans wandering about a campground, let alone staying in an RV – in Mapp’s case, a teardrop trailer. Camping and RVing are outdoor activities that, for a variety of reasons, haven’t yet taken hold in the African American community.
Mapp is hoping to change that – and let people know what they’re missing. “I’m not an outsider talking about these things because I’ve always enjoyed camping,” she said. “But I do want to spread the message that these kinds of activities are possible for American Americans in California and across the country.”
To hammer home her point, Mapp plans to do live tweeting, blogging and videotaping of her trip so that the roughly 7,000 African American members of OutdoorAfro.com can follow her and share in her experiences.
CampCalifornia.com and Ponderosa Resort (RVonTheGo.com) are co-sponsoring her trip along with Auburn-based American River Sales and Rentals, which is supplying a teardrop trailer for Mapp’s use. They are equally eager to learn of her experiences, and learn how they can expand their collective efforts to reach out to the African American community and get them involved in the Great Outdoors.
“This will be a deliberate application of social media to talk about a real experience and how the camping and RV industries can use social media to get African Americans and others involved in the various outdoor opportunities that are available,” Mapp said. Ponderosa Resort, for its part, is eager to gain exposure among a market demographic that knows little about the opportunities available to them.
“Rue’s trip will help expose us to a new demographic, for sure,” said Dominic Pugliese, manager of Ponderosa Resort, a scenic, 135-site campground with over 2,000 feet of frontage along the American River. Many of the park’s campsites and rental cabins are located on the river. Pugliese added that there will be no shortage of activities to keep Mapp and her family entertained. A whitewater rafting company is located on the resort property, and the site where gold was discovered in 1848 is less than a mile away. “We also have an amazing collection of hiking, biking and equestrian areas around us, plus five different public recreation areas,” he said. Ponderosa Resort also has planned activities, including gold panning classes, bingo, arts and crafts, competitive games, including bocce ball and volleyball, tetherball and basketball, as well as Karaoke competitions. The resort also has nightly campfires.
Mapp, for her part, is looking forward to the experience. “Our teardrop trailer will be our base camp for many types of activities,” she said. About OutdoorAfro.com
Since she founded OutdoorAfro.com two years ago, Mapp has gained significant attention – both in government and in the business community. Last year, the White House invited Mapp to participate in the White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors. She was subsequently invited to participate in a White House brainstorming session for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, offering her ideas and insights on ways to engage Americans to become more involved in outdoor recreation activities.