Readers wrote to us with mixed reactions to a story June 30 by Sarah Barker in Outdoors Weekend about the motivation for efforts by retailer REI and others to empower women in the outdoors. Here are edited excerpts:

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I was disappointed to find that your discussion of women in the outdoors failed to include any perspectives from women of color or disabled women. Although there seems to be greater involvement of white able-bodied women who are able to afford the park passes, expensive equipment, classes, and time off from work necessary for participation in sports such as ice climbing, rock climbing, hunting, fishing, and canoeing, there was little mention of the systemic barriers excluding people of color from these activities. Gender discrimination is not the only battle women in Minneapolis-St. Paul are fighting when it comes to greater involvement in outdoor recreation; to ignore these perspectives is yet another example of the forced invisibility these groups face on a daily basis. Claire Porter

Thank you for the thoughtful and well-informed article. I found it thought provoking and inspiring! As a 38-year-old single mom, it resonates with me on a deep level. Now that my child is 8, I decided I am finally able to get back into some of the more expensive and time consuming outdoor activities such as rock climbing. Initially, my lack of self confidence surprised me, but Barker’s articulation of the complexities of a woman’s experience offers me more insight into why this is my new experience. It is taking me some time to feel confident these activities are worth while for my time and limited resources. However, when I complete a course or persevere through a difficult day my confidence explodes, and I know I am doing something healthy for my body and my soul. It is reassuring to know I am not alone in this journey. Elizabeth Young

I thought your article was excellent and particularly highlighting the difference in male/female participation at the highest levels of the sport. As you said, there has also been a huge growth in women-only trips. What is ironic is that REI Adventures used to offer women-only trips, as did some of the other big companies who are trying it once again. The very first company to ever offer women-only adventure travel was Woodswomen, which was Minnesota-based and operated from 1977 to 1999. Marian Marbury

I completely agree with women having more time restraints. A huge factor used to be because of child care. However, I have seen these same women make it happen by taking their children with them outdoors now. Or swapping babysitting duties with other parents for those outdoor adventures that are child-free. My friend owns, an organization that helps kids be outfitted in the apparel or have the gear they need to fish, hunt, etc. This was developed from her love of the outdoors. One of the reasons I’m helping build is because I want future generations of women and girls to have a safe place. A place away from criticism and anti’s. Somewhere to connect with other women with the same interests and share their accomplishments. Tarra Stoddard

I would hardly say “why the urgent interest?” Urgent? This is not a new movement by any stretch of the imagination. There have been women programs in the outdoors for centuries, women in leadership positions in expeditions and women living solitary lives with great success. Dorothy Molter, the “Root Beer Lady,” just one of hundreds. Women don’t need to shout about their survival skills and entrepreneurial spirit as expedition leaders and survivalists. We do it with beauty and grace. Quietly and without fanfare. You missed the mark on this one. Lisa Simensen

As an avid outdoorsperson, and as commissioner of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, I am excited and very supportive of getting more women into outdoor pursuits. A couple thoughts:

1. The activities discussed in the article are what I would call “specialty” sports. They require significant investment in learning and equipment (e.g., rock climbing), and the authorities noted are known for that expertise and limited in the range of appeal to others. Hence, their published perspectives tend to be on the order of “how does this woman deal with this sport.”

– especially hunting, fishing, camping, boating, etc. – are very popular across all Minnesota and across many demographics. Yet, there are no women reporters in Minnesota that I am aware of. Occasionally, there is a woman’s perspective, but no women who weekly write about hunting/fishing/canoeing. I think getting a female reporter to write about these activities would really make women see they are equals in the field. It is hard to envision oneself in an activity when all the writing is by someone of the other gender.

The Strib could surely help in that regard by featuring more frequent columns by women. Again, not on the female perspective but from a seasoned (or new!) person experiencing Minnesota’s outdoors. Tom Landwehr