Out & Back with Alison Mariella Désir

Out & Back with Alison Mariella Désir

Alison Mariella Désir explores the Pacific Northwest with the change-makers who are reclaiming space, creating awareness and delivering access for the health and well-being of BIPOC communities in the region.

Finding comfort while camping at Oregon’s Lake Timothy

Alison Mariella Désir didn’t think the activity was for her — until Lestarya Molloy, founder of Fridie Outdoors, showed her it can feel safe and cozy.

When Alison Mariella Désir thinks of camping, words that come to her mind are dirty, uncomfortable and type two fun. In fact, she can almost hear her father saying, “Who would pay good money to sleep on the floor outdoors?”

For many years, camping outdoors for Black people came with many risks. Beyond the elements, racism and state-sanctioned violence were common. Historically, Black people weren't even allowed to live in Oregon until 1926. This history of exclusion is directly connected to why Black people today are underrepresented as visitors to the state parks; they currently make up 2.2% of Oregon's population and only 0.9% of daily visitors. Washington does not fare much better with Black people making up less than 1.5% of visitors to state parks, despite representing more than 4% of the state population.

In this episode, Alison will be camping with Lestarya Molloy, founder of Fridie Outdoors, by beautiful Lake Timothy in Oregon, land of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation. Part of Molloy’s work is to ensure that Black people not only feel safe in the outdoors but can get comfy and cozy. Alison is excited to have a fresh perspective on the activity and be part of this home away from home.