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The Lost American Wilderness Part 4

The myth of female helplessness has been compounded and exasperated by a lack of wilderness education for girls and women. While learning to backpack, camp, and hunt are considered important rites of passage for our young American men, American girls are more likely to learn an art or craft, how to cook, or play a sport before they are taught how to pitch a tent or use a compass. American women are also not supposed to sweat, carry heavy things, be able to read maps, be seen without their makeup on, or know how to build a fire. Outdoor pursuits have a way of putting us in the delicate and untenable position of trying to balance our culturally requested veil of helplessness and delicacy with a very real and immediate need to be neither helpless nor delicate.

Ironically, we are in an age that has made access to the outdoors safer and easier than ever before. Parking areas are clearly labeled and typically have some kind of bathroom facility, trails are well maintained and clearly labeled, outdoor gear and clothing is lighter and generally more efficient and reliable, and more of us own cars than at any other time.

The time for action is now.

A mossy river and trail


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