OAKLAND, Calif. â€“ Rue Mapp knew it wouldnâ€™t be too hard to develop a following when she launched OutdoorAfro.com, the social media website that connects African Americans with the Great Outdoors and with each other.
After all, there isnâ€™t any other place on the Internet where African Americans who like outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, hiking, bicycling, rock climbing and river rafting can meet one another and find out about upcoming outdoor adventures with other African Americans.
What Mapp didnâ€™t expect was the continuing surge in website traffic and phone calls that have taken place since she publicized an RV trip with her family to Ponderosa Resort in the Sierra Nevada foothill community of Lotus two months ago.
â€œIâ€™m getting people following me everywhere,â€ said Mapp, a 40-year-old Oakland resident. â€œIâ€™m getting lots of traction in California because thatâ€™s where Iâ€™m from. But Iâ€™m also getting hits in New York, Seattle and Atlanta.â€
Mapp even got a phone call recently from an elderly Atlanta woman with a trailer, asking if she had any advice on how she could find other African Americans to go RVing with. Mapp did a quick Web search and put her in touch with a regional coordinator from the National African American RVers Association.
â€œThese are the kinds of connections Iâ€™m trying to help people make,â€ Mapp said, adding that the whole point of OutdoorAfro.com is to make camping and the enjoyment of nature accessible and relevant to the lives of African Americans, who typically are rarely seen in outdoor activities.
Mappâ€™s next trip will be Oct. 21st to 23rd in a rental RV from El Monte RV. Sheâ€™ll head down Route 1, explore the coast, and camp overnight at Big Sur Campground and Cabins, which will serve as a base camp for Mapp and her family as they explore the many hiking trails, waterfalls and scenic coastline in the Big Sur area.
Mapp said she plans to shoot video, tweet and blog about her trip so that the roughly 7,000 African American members of OutdoorAfro.com can continue to follow her and share in her familyâ€™s experiences as they explore scenic outdoor destinations across California.
Camp-California.com and Big Sur Campground and Cabins are co-sponsoring her trip along with El Monte RV, which is supplying an RV for Mappâ€™s use. Mappâ€™s next trip will take place later this winter in the Southern California desert.
Since she founded OutdoorAfro.com two years ago, Mapp has gained significant attention â€“ both in government and in the business community.
Last year, the White House invited Mapp to participate in the White House Conference on Americaâ€™s Great Outdoors. She was subsequently invited to participate in a White House brainstorming session for Michelle Obamaâ€™s Letâ€™s Move campaign, offering her ideas and insights on ways to engage Americans to become more involved in outdoor recreation activities. For more information on OutdoorAfro.com and on Mappâ€™s upcoming camping trips, please contact Rue Mapp at (510) 913-6100 or email her at [email protected].
About Camp-California.com and its partnersÂ
Camp-California.com, the travel planning website of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, has taken an interest in Mappâ€™s efforts and plans to work with her in the coming months to actively promote camping and RVing in the African American community.
For more information on Camp-California.com and its efforts to increase the levels of African American participation in camping and RVing, please contact Meaghan Bertram at (510) 541-4955 or email her at [email protected].
To learn more about Big Sur Campground and Cabins, please visit www.bigsurcamp.com or call (831) 667-2322.
El Monte RV can be reached at (888) 337-2214 and at www.elmonterv.com.