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Colorado woman hopes to expand outdoor adventures for communities of color

Colorado woman hopes to expand outdoor adventures for communities of color

Excited was an understatement as a fearless group put on sneakers and backpacks to hike Castlewood Canyon State Park on a hot Wednesday morning. Jessica Newton led the way, as she’s done countless times over the years. 

Hiking is in her blood as an honorary Colorado native.



“My family was in the military, so we moved a lot and my mom said this is where we’re going to stop. So, thanks mom, for keeping us here,” she laughed as she told CBS4’s Mekialaya White, who she invited along for the hike.

Newton is also a Black woman who’s working to create sister and brotherhood on Colorado’s trails. She says, in recent years, with each step she took, she realized she needed to take steps toward inclusivity.

“You can do this at any time, and it was such an amazing mental health practice for me and overall health,” said Newton. “I heard the same story: ‘Hey I’m always out hiking but I never see any of us.”

So, she started Black Girls Hike in 2016, which eventually grew into a more-inclusive nonprofit Vibe Tribe Adventures

“We have children who’ve never been past Colorado Boulevard, so I said I’m going to make an attempt to get these kids outside. Creating a fellowship of those who are outdoors it feels so good to have a place where you belong.”

She’s on a mission to take children and urban adults outdoors to explore while tying in science and STEM-based education.

It’s a place of empowerment and belonging. 

“You look at REI, you look at Patagonia, you look at Columbia. You don’t see a lot of people of color in their photos. This is a way to say we did that!” said Newton.