NPF Chief Program Officer LaTresse Snead was interviewed by the Christian Science Monitor for a very comprehensive cover story about diversity in outdoor spaces. Read an excerpt from the article, “The great outdoors has a diversity problem. Can it be fixed?” below.
“Since 2011, the National Park Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program has brought more than 1 million children to a national park, most of them for the first time. They aim to connect another 1 million youth to parks in the next four years.
A 2018 report from the George Wright Forum found that Asian Americans and Hispanics each account for just 5% of visitors to national parks, and just 2% of visitors are African American.
‘There are so many barriers,’ says LaTresse Snead, chief program officer for the National Park Foundation. “Most national parks don’t have public transportation. Even if you do have a car, there’s the cost of gas and the entrance fee. More than that, it’s also about personal relevancy, and people actually seeing the park as a space for them.’
By exposing kids to parks at a young age, and continuing to engage them in service corps, internships, and apprenticeships through college, Ms. Snead hopes the National Park Foundation can foster a diverse new generation of nature lovers, public land stewards, and park superintendents.