Well-familiar is the cry that our parks are in danger of losing mass appeal because visitation is flagging (this year seems to be bucking that trend, but that's fodder for another post). More serious, in my opinion, is that the diversity among park visitors seems to be lagging.
Park Service officials realize this, and are working on ways to boost the racial diversity in the visitorship.
But perhaps the best essay I've seen yet addressing this issue is one that surfaced today via the Writers on the Range syndicate. Written by Wayne Hare, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger in western Colorado, the essay raises some thought-provoking issues tying diversity to the future of our public lands.
The most recent U.S. Census indicates that sometime around the year 2050, people of color in this country will outnumber the current white majority. If the emerging future majority doesn't find intrinsic value in our birthright of publicly owned lands, how much tougher will it be to fund and protect these special areas?
You can read Mr. Hare's essay here.