National Parks Service Encourages Diversity Among Campers With #FindYourPark

May 1, 2015 by No Comments

Night camping in the mountains.
More camping enthusiasts are flocking to the National Parks than ever before. In 2014, Americans made a record 292.8 million visits to these parks and campgrounds; these days, about 70% of all camping is done at a public park.

At the same time, however, minorities like African-Americans and Hispanics continue to be underrepresented when compared with the overall camping demographic that visits the National Parks, even though their numbers have soared over recent years.

According to BusinessWire.com, the percentage of Hispanic, Asian-American and African-American campers has doubled since 2012. In 2015, nearly one in four campers — 23% — identified as non-white. Hispanics represent a mere 6% of the camping population, making them the most under-represented group.

To help encourage people of all backgrounds to go camping this summer, the National Parks Service recently kicked off its #FindYourPark campaign that aims to connect people with its parks via social media, education and various advocacy and outreach events.

“The visitor profile of the National Parks does not represent the diversity of our country and this campaign is a major effort to help change that,” Dan Wenk, Interim President of the National Park Foundation, said in a statement.

The campaign officially launched on March 30, with events in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., the Huffington Post reported.

And in addition to #FindYourParks, the National Park Service will soon be kicking off its “Every Kid in a Park” initiative for the 2015-16 school year, which works to give every 4th grader in the country — about four million children — a free pass, valid for up to a year, to any National Park in the country.

The federal government’s proposed 2016 budget allots $11.5 million in transportation grants for low-income schools, giving underprivileged children even more chances to visit the country’s National Parks and develop a lifelong love of the outdoors.

“It is heartbreaking to meet kids in cities like Los Angeles that have never even seen the Pacific Ocean or experienced walking on sand on the beach,” National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said. “#FindYourPark is a big step in outreach to provide opportunities for more people to experience their parks.”

For more information on #FindYourPark, visit findyourpark.com.

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