Footprints for Change is a movement to change the narrative of what it means to be a backpacker in the great outdoors.
BIPOC communities have had to endure the traumatic burden of fighting for their right to healthy environments while simultaneously fighting for freedom from discrimination and police violence. However, only people who are insulated from systematic racism can opt to enjoy outdoor spaces. Only Footprints Director, Crystal Gail Welcome aims to change that, one step at a time. By hiking the Great Western Loop (gwl). she hopes to inspire BIPOC people, especially BIPOC youth, to foster a positive relationship with the natural world — free from barriers.
To date, the GWL has only been completed by two cisgender, able-bodied, affluent white males – this sends a message that these spaces are reserved for those that fit that profile. In hiking the GWL Crystal is creating space for BIPOC/femme/LGBTQ+/Disabled folks to peacefully reconnect with Nature.
The three-part solo trek began in 2021 in the High Sierras on the Pacific Crest Trail. Crystal will continue her journey throughout 2022 and end at the southern border of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDCT) in 2023.