Diversify Our Parks

Throughout the years of visiting our National Parks, we have had the times of our lives! Whether if we were crawling through the depths of the biggest known caves in the world, swimming in the water between the Channel Islands, or running through sacred dunes, we truly celebrated what the National Parks have been able to give to us. The more we explored the Parks, the more we noticed the faces of the people that visited the Parks alongside us and the NPS staff serving this group. We didn't see a demographic that seemed to represent what our country actually looks like.

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Park Visitation Figures

While the National Park Service (NPS) turned 100 last year, African Americans still represent only about seven percent of park visitors. In comparison, they make up thirteen percent of the national population. Latinos, Native Americans, and other non-white visitors are similarly underrepresented. The rest—some 78 percent—are white. NPS employees are 83% white.

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a complicated Past

Even though scores of National Park Service sites memorialize the Civil War, there isn’t a single one dedicated to Reconstruction. In part, this is because there has never been a big enough grassroots campaign to drum up the political support needed to establish such a site. (Park Service sites are designated by presidential proclamation or an act of Congress.) But the reasons also run deeper.

Even now, some Americans view that time period as a dark moment when power dynamics shifted and white Southerners suffered. It’s a period that brings up hidden (and sometimes blatant) resentments, prejudices, and misconceptions that still simmer beneath the surface of our civic life today. And for many, it’s a sensitive topic that’s difficult to talk about.

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the numbers don't lie

There have been numerous studies done about this topic including this one titled People of Color and Their Constraints to National Parks Visitation by David Scott and KangJae Jerry Lee of The George Wright Forum. 

READ FULL STUDY HERE

...or this one...

...titled Why Do So Few Minority People Visit National Parks? - 
Visitation and the Accessibility of “America's Best
Idea” by Joe Weber of the University of Alabama and Selima Sultana of the University of North Carolina. 

READ FULL STUDY HERE

More Work To Do

Visitation figures are skewed even further when the visits in question are to parks that showcase more wilderness and outdoor recreation. A visitation survey done in Yosemite National Park showed that African Americans totaled just 1 percent of visitors, compared to 77 percent white and 11 percent each for Hispanics and Asians.

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Our Initiative

Our initiative is to diversify our national parks by using a three layered approach:

Awareness - get people to stop and realize there is a problem here
Education - give them exposure to first hand experiences 
Action - take action by donating, volunteering, or spreading awareness

We're focused on connecting to more diverse audiences and creating content with this audience in mind. Join Our Facebook Group below to join the discussion, share information, and connect with like-minded individuals. 

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Black History In The National Parks

Black History is rich in the National Parks and is seldom recognized. We aim to educate the community about the vibrant history and get park attendance up for this demographic.

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Native Americans And The National Parks

The Park's existence alone has directly related to the dispossession of Native American land throughout the United States. There was a clear system for this that we will go into further detail about here.

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Latinx History In The National Parks

There are so many contributions the Latino community has made to the National Parks over the years.

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Asian History In The National Parks

While the Asian community is well-represented at the Parks, most are not Asian-American and little of the Asian American history is discussed when focused on the National Parks.

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LGBTQ History In The National Parks

The LGBTQ Community is becoming more and more represented at the National Parks, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

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Women And The National Parks

Women have been an instrumental part of the Park's history and have long had their achievements ignored. Read more about how the tough, gritty women of the past have paved the trail for the current women of the outdoors.

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