Growing up in Fayette County, Melanie Seiler was surrounded by an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities — rock climbing, white water rafting and hiking — just to name a few.
“I had opportunities to experience outdoor recreation through my family’s business,” Seiler shared. “For a long time, I thought everyone had that access.”
But as she grew older, especially while she was in high school, she realized not everyone had the same type of access to or knowledge of the adventures awaiting them in their backyards.
“When I saw that disconnect in my peers, in people not knowing where local trails were or how to access the river (much less paddle on it), it left an impression on me,” Seiler said. “I saw it impacting health, hopelessness and opportunities for employment.”
When the opportunity arose in 2015 for Seiler to lead Active Southern West Virginia, she couldn’t pass the chance