Developing Diversity in the National Parks
Earlier this summer we had a, shall I say 'spirited,' discussion revolving around how to increase diversity in visitation to the national parks. This topic has resurfaced in an Associated Press article that looks at efforts a group is taking to introduce minorities to the parks.
A National Park Service survey in 2003 showed Americans of all backgrounds gave the same reasons for staying away from public lands — cost, distance, not knowing what to do there and lack of interest. But some differences emerged, giving a sense how cultural perceptions of the outdoors might vary among groups.
Blacks were significantly more likely to say they received poor service from park employees or that they felt uncomfortable while visiting parks. Hispanics expressed greater concern than others about having to make reservations too far in advance and about personal safety while outdoors.
Experts say these perceptions can be changed, but only through a concerted effort.
You can find details on Wildlink, which works to bring minority teens into the park system, at this site. The Park Service's report on ethnic diversity in the parks is attached below.