Local weekly newspaper Mountain XPress recently featured BRHC Owner Lindsey Barr in their annual Women in Business issue.  The article, titled "Women in Outdoor Recreation Industry Driven by Passion, Desire for Inclusion," focused women in the outdoor recreation industry who are working to help other women feel safe and welcome in the outdoors.  She was featured alongside whitewater kayaking instructor Anna Levesque and wilderness medicine instructor Ruby Compton. Read an excerpt below, or the full article on the Mountain XPress website.

  Trail Boss

Barr has a long history with outdoor recreation. She earned the Gold Award, the highest achievement of the Girl Scouts of the USA, while she was in high school in Winston-Salem. She also joined a Venturing Crew, a coed program of the Boy Scouts of America.

“I started backpacking, canoe camping and doing a lot more cycling and rock climbing,” she says. “I always loved it, but I still didn’t intend to do it professionally.”

While earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from N.C. State University, she worked for the school’s outdoor adventure program as a hiking and backpacking guide.

But it wasn’t until she started working as an engineer that she realized what she really wanted to be doing.

“I had some personal stuff going on and just needed to step away,” she says. “And when I did that, I realized the last time I was happy at work was when I was guiding.”

She took a job with an outdoor retailer in Winston-Salem in 2012 and ended up managing one of its stores in Eastern North Carolina. In January 2019, she became manager of Blue Ridge Hiking Co., which was looking to open a storefront in downtown Asheville after a decade as an online company offering guided hikes in Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Dupont State Forest and other places.

Barr helped launch the company’s store on College Street and its Appalachian Trail-er bunkhouse and gear rental location in Hot Springs.

When Blue Ridge Hiking founder Jennifer Pharr Davis offered Barr the chance to buy the business last year, she leaped at the opportunity. She wanted to make sure the company stayed true to its roots as a business serving women interested in the outdoors, she says, even though it has plenty of male clients.