With so much anxiety and stress leading up to election week, we’re glad to be taking a break to put some good news in the world. As part of our ongoing commitment to ending systemic racism and changing the inequilities that exist in outdoor spaces, we’re joining with others in supporting and lifting up organizations dedicated to bridging the race gap in outdoor spaces. Check out today’s post describing the DiverseNPS initiative and our November featured organization is the Youth Opportunities Program at Appalachian Mountain Club.
As outdoor enthusiasts and lovers of America’s parks, we’ve experienced the benefits of connecting with nature and our diverse landscapes. From city parks where we can get a taste of green amid cemented city blocks, to recharging strolls and hikes in the millions of acres of our state parks, to treks and climbs in the breathtaking landscapes in our national parks, the chance to be in nature is an experience we hold invaluable.
Undoubtedly, our lands should be enjoyed by all of us, but when we look into who is getting access to our lands, we see alarmingly disproportionate statistics that highlight a gap between race and park visitations. When we examine the reasons why these gaps are present—access, education, resources, discrimination and prejudice—we understand that systemic racism in our country is the major contributor to these disappointing disproportions.
In the National Park System, for example, Black Americans make up about 7 percent of visitors, while they are 13 percent of the U.S. population. Moreover, 78 percent of visitors are White.
The end of the Jim Crow era in 1968, showcases that Black American generations have only recently gained the freedom and liberty to move around this country. Still today, minorities face prejudice and discrimination within our outdoor spaces and, often, cannot safely and comfortably enjoy outdoor recreation.
AS PARK ENTHUSIASTS AND ADVOCATES OF SPENDING TIME IN NATURE, WE ARE COMMITTED TO ADDRESSING RACISM WITHIN OUR INDUSTRY.
To do so, we are taking action to use our platforms to contribute to the progress that is much needed within the outdoor space and community.
As a part of this community, Park Chasers will join with others in highlighting organizations that are dedicated to bridging the race gap in the outdoor space by connecting opportunities and experiences to people of color.
Each month, we are featuring and focusing on one organization, with the intent to showcase their hard work, raise awareness and support them through funding and donations. We’ll share monthly articles and social media posts along with links for how you can donate.
THIS MONTH'S ORGANIZATION:
During the month of November we’ll be sharing the work of an outdoor organization, the Youth Opportunities Program, part of the Appalachian Mountain Club, in our community effort to showcase organizations who are working to create more inclusive outdoor spaces.
Northeast-based Youth Opportunities Program aims to train and support educators with resources so that access to outdoor experiences is equitable for their groups of young people, especially those whose racial identities are underrepresented in outdoor spaces.