More college students than ever are majoring in Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Education, or Adventure Education, but fewer and fewer Americans spend any time in thoughtful, respectful engagement with wilderness. While many young people may think of adrenaline-laced extreme sports as prime outdoor activities, with Outdoors in the Southwest, Andrew Gulliford seeks to promote appreciation for and discussion of the wild landscapes where those sports are played.
Advocating an outdoor ethic based on curiosity, cooperation, humility, and ecological literacy, this essay collection features selections by renowned southwestern writers including Terry Tempest Williams, Edward Abbey, Craig Childs, and Barbara Kingsolver, as well as scholars, experienced guides, and river rats. Essays explain the necessity of nature in the digital age, recount rafting adventures, and reflect on the psychological effects of expeditions. True-life cautionary tales tell of encounters with nearly disastrous flash floods, 900-foot falls, and lightning strikes. The final chapter describes the work of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, and other exemplars of “wilderness tithing”—giving back to public lands through volunteering, stewardship, and eco-advocacy.
Addressing the evolution of public land policy, the meaning of wilderness, and the importance of environmental protection, this collection serves as an intellectual guidebook not just for students but for travelers and anyone curious about the changing landscape of the West.