By Kenny Johnson, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Two of the main barriers facing folks interested in outdoors recreation is a lack of access and not knowing others who already participate in those activities. Birmingham’s Brittney Davis is working to reduce those barriers for members of an organization she founded in 2017, Ladies Who Hike.
The group treats its members to 12 local and regional hikes each year as well as an annual trip and other outdoors-related experiences. Since their first hike with 19 members at the Forever Wild Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve in Birmingham, the group has grown to 125 members and has traveled extensively throughout the Southeast.
Davis created the hiking group to provide a community for women in the Birmingham area in which they could share a variety of adventures.
“Ladies Who Hike was started when I went on a solo hike,” Davis said. “I had the idea to invite other women along and make a day out of it. The group grew organically from there. My motivation is to have a community and sisterhood where like-minded, positive women can come together and enjoy nature.”
As a Girl Scout growing up in Mobile, Alabama, Davis enjoyed camping and all things nature related. In addition to hiking trips, Davis takes inspiration from her time as a Scout to help introduce other women to new outdoors experiences.
This spring, 18 Ladies Who Hike members attended an Introduction to Handguns course offered by the Law Enforcement Section of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF). The class provides basic tips on firearms safety and storage as well as shooting range experience. Most of the members who attended the class had never had the opportunity to fire a gun.
The 4-hour course is taught at various WFF public shooting ranges throughout the state and is perfect for anyone with an interest in learning how to fire a handgun in a safe, family friendly environment. All firearms, ammunition and eye and ear protection are provided, but you will need a Wildlife Heritage License to participate.
“I believe gun safety is very important, and I wanted to provide my ladies an opportunity to learn how to use a firearm properly and get comfortable using a gun,” Davis said. “Many of our women said it gave them the confidence to go and purchase their own gun.”