James Edward
Changing the Face of the Outdoors
Journalist & Nonfiction Author
Travels from: Madison, WI

“Mills took THE ADVENTURE GAP beyond the scope of a traditional expedition narrative, exploring the reasons for the glaring outdoor cultural divide and noting that bridging that gap would help people and the planet.” – Outside Magazine

James Edward Mills is a 2014 Fellow of the Mountain & Wilderness Writing Program of the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada and the 2016 recipient of the Paul K. Petzoldt Award For Environmental Education. As a freelance journalist and an independent media producer in a career that spans more than 20 years, he specializes in sharing stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.

James has worked in the outdoor industry since 1989, when he worked as a guide, outfitter, independent sales representative, writer, and photographer. He is the author of The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors, which was named by Outside Magazine as one of the 10 “Outdoor Books that Shaped the Last Decade.” James is also the co-writer/co-producer of the documentary film “An American Ascent.”

His next project is titled The Black American Traveler’s Guide to Our National Parks, an illustrated tour through America’s historic sites and monuments, highlighting the role that people of color have always played in the formation of the United States. With skills in audio storytelling, James’ radio production credits include Wisconsin Public Radio, the Public Radio Exchange, American Public Media’s Marketplace, and the Public Radio International programs To The Best of Our Knowledge and The Tavis Smiley Show. In recognition for his work in sharing the important history and legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers and their efforts at the dawn of the National Park Service James was named a Yosemite National Park Centennial Ambassador in 2016.

As a faculty assistant at the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute For Environmental Studies, James teaches a summer course for undergraduate students on diversity, equity and inclusion in outdoor recreation and public land management called Outdoors For All. James lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two lovable dogs, Sasha and Mikalea.

James’s Authors Outside Profile: 

James Edward's Featured Titles

The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors

Mountaineers Books |

“An important new book about a crucial challenge facing the conservation movement” — Spencer Black, vice president, Sierra Club

The nation’s wild places–from national and state parks to national forests, preserves, and wilderness areas–belong to all Americans. But not all of us use these resources equally. Minority populations are much less likely to seek recreation, adventure, and solace in our wilderness spaces. It’s a difference that African American author James Mills addresses in his new book, The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors.

In 2013, the first all-African American team of climbers, sponsored by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), challenged themselves on North America’s highest point, the dangerous and forbidding Denali, in Alaska. Mills uses Expedition Denali and its team members’ adventures as a jumping-off point to explore how minority populations view their place in wild environments and to share the stories of those who have already achieved significant accomplishments in outdoor adventures–from Mathew Henson, a Black explorer who stood with Peary at the North Pole, to Kai Lightner, a teenage sport climber currently winning national competitions.

As our country grows increasingly multicultural, our natural legacy needs the devotion of people of all races and ethnicities to steward its care. The Adventure Gap is both a compelling adventure tale and road map to help everyone look to the outdoors for experiences that will enrich their lives.


How Do We Make the Outdoors More Inclusive?


How our National Parks are working to becoming Anti-Racist


Black History as interpreted by the National Park Service

James’ Podcast

Anti-Racism Resource Guide

An American Ascent

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Wilderness Education Association Paul K. Petzoldt Award for Evironmental Education
Yosemite National Park Centennial Ambassador
Outside Magazine, one of the 10 “Outdoor Books that Shaped the Last Decade.”

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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