Featured Stories

Share a ride, tell a story, save a park

GreenXC, a group of young national park and forest advocates, to visit Sandy, Mount Hood on Aug. 9
by: contributed photo by GreenXC Igor Bratnikov and  Polina Raygorodskaya, founders of GreenXC, in Washington, D.C.

To support the preservation of national parks and forests, a team of three young professionals will venture across the country through a series of ride shares.

Share a ride, tell a story, save a park, their slogan goes.

Leaving July 27, they plan to pass through Sandy and the Mount Hood National Forest on Aug. 9.

Polina Raygorodskaya, 24, Igor Bratnikov, 24, and David Raygorodskaya, 21, all originally from Boston (but Polina and Igor currently live in New York), are GreenXC, an ensemble that seeks to 'create an eco-sustainable nation' and inspire young people to 'play an active role in the environment.'

During their stops through national parks and forests, they will learn about each destination and plant a tree, documenting their travels with photographs and blog posts.

'We're very excited to visit the Pacific Northwest,' Polina Raygorodskaya said. 'It's absolutely beautiful. We want to show the area to the whole country and locals. You don't have to go cross-country; there are beautiful places right here that are easy to get to.'

GreenXC began with a forest retreat to New Hampshire in May. At White Mountain National Forest, Raygorodskaya and Bratnikov found themselves freed from usual hectic schedules but concerned about the preservation of national parks and forests.

GreenXC described how, in their opinion, many members of Generation Y, their generation, spend weekends indoors or at bars rather than camping or visiting parks. This general apathy worries them.

'If they don't appreciate them (the parks and forests), no one will take care of them,' Raygorodskaya said.

The three plan to raise awareness for the park system among twenty-somethings, with any donations received going to the National Forest Foundation.

GreenXC plans to continue with its campaign after the trip, posting daily on its blog with information about environmental issues, natural products, green businesses and ride shares. They will also launch a ride share program directly on their website.

When it comes to ride shares, the trio said many available sites have search problems, and it's difficult to find a good site and feel comfortable.

'We've been working through Craiglist and have a process of developing ride shares,' Raygorodskaya said. 'There's a societal thing that says you can't ride with a stranger but you don't know your bus driver.'

For its own ride share program, the team will try to create connection through common interest of the driver and rider.

'Save on gas and protect the environment,' Raygorodskaya said.

Their cross-country map was posted as a tentative route earlier this summer and altered as online comments came through, encouraging them to avoid the Southern humidity and focus on some lesser known parks and forests through the Midwest and West Coast.

Stops include the Forest Products Lab in Madison, Wis., the Gallatin north of Yellowstone, and Inyo and Sequoia national forests.

GreenXC referred to a quote it drew inspiration from for the upcoming trip:

'People both here and abroad know that our national parks are America's best idea, even during an economic downturn,' U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in a statement. 'Our national parks are treasures that tell the story of our country and celebrate its beauty and culture, and they provide vacation bargains for families living on a tight budget.'

For more information, email GreenXC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit its website, greenxc.com, where its Twitter and Facebook account are linked. The trio welcomes readers' responses and wants to connect with supporters to 'hang out' or do a ride share.