Our Social Justice Work

The Notch Hostel prioritizes social justice work, both in terms of making our hostel a safe space for guests from marginalized groups, and more broadly in terms of reshaping hiking culture, the outdoors industry, as well as collaboration with other social justice organizations working directly with and in support of marginalized residents of Northern New Hampshire. People from all backgrounds, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or background are welcome to reach out to us for lodging, and we will make every effort to ensure your stay is safe, comfortable, and extraordinary.

We are engaged in creating an anti-racist hiking culture. In 2021 we released an article calling for renaming “redlining”, a niche hiking term that is more broadly known as a devastating discrimination practices. Our efforts bore fruit—the hiking term has already been renamed “tracing” the trails. We have teamed up with Outdoor Afro Boston to provide lodging for its members. We meet monthly with local reps from Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, and other racial groups and are learning more about how to support their work. We are also the exclusive retailer for QueerBeans hats, made by a local queer/trans artist. Try one on next time you’re at the Notch or shop hats in our online store!

Black activist Mardi Fuller (right) from Massachusetts holding a sign at the summit of Mount Adams denouncing transphobia, alongside trans hiker Scout (left) from Rhode Island. Both are frequent guests at the Notch Hostel.

Summits in Solidarity

In 2020 Notch owner Serena Ryan and employee Philip Carcia co-founded Summits in Solidarity, a racial justice initiative among hikers in the Northeastern US and beyond. The initiative is an awareness-raising event that takes place annually on the last Saturday in June, and involves people hiking to various outdoor spaces with signs calling for racial justice. Each year the calls to action are a bit different; in 2021, we will focus our signs on raising awareness about outdoor places named after oppressive leaders, slaveholders, and those responsible for Indigenous genocide. Beyond hike day, Summits in Solidarity includes components related to self-education, community action, and fundraising. For more information on how to participate, visit Summits in Solidarity’s website and follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

“The Hiking Prodigy” aka Tyler Lau is the first person of color to thru-hike the three major U.S. trails in less than a year. He completed the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide trails—known as the Triple Crown—in fewer than 365 days. He has been an active participant in Summits in Solidarity since its inception in 2020, and also a strong advocate against Asian American and Pacific Islander hate crimes.

The Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge

We joined the In Solidarity Network in 2020 and have taken the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge, committing to “establish programs and initiatives around diversity and inclusion.” Each year we will publish an annual report detailing our progress. Click the red button on our pledge page to read our full annual report. The work continues!

We prioritize lodging for guests of color, guests from the queer/trans community, and other groups who have experienced systemic oppression and marginalization.

The North Country Social Justice Collective

Notch owner Serena Ryan formed a consortium of social justice organizations that are doing work here in New Hampshire’s North Country (NoCo) and established a monthly meeting for our collective. We meet on the second Wednesday of every month. Attendees include NH Panthers, NHUnites, BLM North Country, Rights and Democracy NH and NH Democrats, NoCo Police Reform working group, NoCo for Social Justice, White Mountain Action Network, Anti-Racist Outdoors, and Summits in Solidarity. This meeting is important for 1) holding ourselves accountable to our stated missions and goals, 2) creating a space for emotional support through extremely draining work, 3) collaboration, shared resources, teaming up on projects and action items, and pitching ideas to each other, 4) visible solidarity, coordinated effort, an alliance of spokespeople from the North Country, and 5) culture building.

The NoCo Collective formed during the pandemic, so some of us met each other for the first time in November 2020 on a group hike to Georgiana Falls (above).