Posted on July 7, 2015
Hike to Chantry Flats
By Scott Chan
“Places like Chantry Flats way up here in the San Gabriel Mountains…they’re not accessible to kids in my neighborhood.”
Last week, Kyle and I led a workshop/hike with high school and college students on what it means to have access to nature for people of color communities. The quote above is from one of the youth who participated in the workshop/hike, explaining how youth growing up in Lennox would find it very difficult to physically get to the mountains.
These youth are part of a summer program called the Asian American Environmental Academy, which focuses on engaging and empowering Asian American youth on the important of environmental justice and environmental health. The Asian American Environmental Academy is a brand new program put together by APIOPA, A3PCON, and Bike SGV.
As we hiked along the trail, one message consistently floated to the top; nature right now is a privilege for the few, when it really should be a right of everyone. One discussion we had was how would each of the youth get up to Chantry without a car. Well, there basically is no real way to do it. You can take a bus to the foot of the mountain, but then you’d have to walk up the winding roads to get to where we sat. Truly accessible.
To me, it was a overall good experience because the youth come from different backgrounds, and it was exciting to see the sharing of thoughts and experiences to better understand what something like “privilege” even is.
At the end of the day, it was a great experience to get away from the pollution, the noise, and the cell service. Yes, lack of cell service was liberating.