ABC/Univision previously detailed some of the reasons minorities are reluctant to travel to parks, and they range from fears about safety to a lack of transportation.
Some of those concerns are difficult to tackle, and looming budget cuts don’t help the situation either. But advocates of increasing the diversity of park visitors say there are steps the park service needs to take if they want a future, ABC News reported.
John Griffith, a supervisor with California Conservation Corps, an agency that gives young people who might not otherwise have the opportunity a chance to work outdoors, says simply adding more picnic tables at parks would be a good start.
“If you think about a typical white family, there are four people in that family and they need one picnic table,” he said. “But when Latin American families come, they often come with grandma, grandpa, aunts and uncles and one table is not enough.”
Why not just rent multiple campsites? Park planners might ask that question but if they included Latinos in the planning process, they’d have an answer before it became a problem.
Latino families don’t want to be split up into different sites. They want a bunch of tables in one place where they can all be together. It might not sound like a huge drawback, but it contributes to the sense that their preferred style of vacationing is not considered and that is a big issue.
“If you have a Latino and black population, then you should make sure to include those user groups in the planning of parks,” Griffith said. “If I was planning a park, I’d want the urban population to have access, so I’d run bus lines, and I would have multiple tables for extended family groups. If you’re engaging user groups with the design, I think you have much higher engagement.”
Spanish-language trail signs would also help, as would including stories about more than just the white settlers and native populations in park exhibits.
That sounds easy, right? Except it’s not really happening.
To read the entire article on Woodall’s Campground Management click here.
The Obama administration is trying to draw more Latinos to U.S. national parks through the creation of a list of Latino heritage sites within the national park system, Travel Weekly reported.
The endeavor is headed by the American Latino Heritage Fund within the National Park Foundation, the official charity of the national parks. Latino sites range from Spanish colonial fortifications to missions across the country from Florida to California.
Latinos are under-represented in park visitor numbers, according to Francisco Carrillo, director of Latino affairs for the Department of the Interior. He said that the government is working with groups such as the ASTA/NTA Hispanic Task Force to call attention to the Latino heritage program.
Karen Nozik, director of ally development and partnerships for the National Parks Conservation Association, a lobbying group for the national parks, said, “The demographics of the U.S. are changing, and we need to educate more Latinos about the parks. They are the perfect demographic for parks. They like intergenerational trips of two to four days duration and they like to drive to their vacations.”
Besides publicizing Latino heritage sites in national parks, the National Park Service wants to find and preserve other sites that show the contribution of American Latinos.
For example, the new Cesar E. Chavez National Monument in Keene, Calif., pays tribute to the man who founded the United Farm Workers of America.