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Latino History & Culture in Parks

National parks are powerful places to honor and celebrate Latino history.
NPF's Latino Heritage Fund
  • Reflecting Our Past
    Latino history is a vibrant part of U.S. history. More than 500 years of Hispanic and Latino history and heritage can be found in hundreds of national parks across the country.
  • Inspiring the Future
    National parks are powerful places to honor and celebrate Latino history. They help us share the history, heritage, and contributions of Hispanic and Latino people, past and present, through a unique lens.
  • NPF's Commitment
    The National Park Foundation’s Latino Heritage Fund has helped preserve Latino history and elevate Latino stories and contributions throughs national parks for over a decade. Working in collaboration with the National Park Service and other partners, the Latino Heritage Fund recognizes and celebrates Latino histories and stories, past and present, in our parks.

Celebrating Diverse Histories

Many national parks reflect America’s natural beauty. Others show another type of American beauty – the cultures and traditions of people from every walk of life. National parks honor our different experiences and united histories. Latino culture is a vibrant part of this cultural mix.

Carmel Benavides was possibly the first Hispano to cross the Santa Fe Trail. Ynes Enriquetta Julietta Mexia was a botanist and conservationist who fought to preserve the Northern Californian redwood forest. Emma Tenayuca was a labor organizer and civil rights activist during the Great Depression. José Sarria was a WWII veteran and LGBTQ+ activist in San Francisco. The stories and contributions of Hispanic and Latino people in America are diverse and continue to impact our lives today. These histories help us explore a broader range of individuals and communities – each with their own story to share – and invite us to imagine our future together.

The National Park Foundation (NPF)’s work in history and culture supports educational programs, professional development opportunities, and the rehabilitation and preservation of historic sites and artifacts in national parks across the country. NPS and NPF are working to expand storytelling in parks to share a more comprehensive history of the U.S. so we can all gain a greater understanding of parks’ history.

NPF uses the terms Latino and Hispanic. While the intent is to honor inclusivity and be representative of various ways that people identify, we recognize that this language does not account for all identities. We also recognize the important and need of specificity in reference to distinct communities.

NPF's Work in This Space

NPF supports national parks, programs, and projects that highlight the stories of Hispanic and Latino people in the U.S.

Sunlight on the bluffs
Program
Latino Heritage Fund
Established in 2011, NPF’s Latino Heritage Fund supports projects that help park visitors recognize and celebrate the vital importance of Latino history to American history, as well as projects that connect Latinos to our parks.
Learn More about Latino Heritage Fund
  • Karli Tirapelle wears an orange hardhat as she uses a chainsaw to cut down a tree.
    Program
    Cultural Landscape Apprenticeships
    NPF’s Cultural Landscape Apprenticeships program helps connect young people to careers in historic preservation and natural resource management at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
  • A suspended bell, bright blue shutters, and two rows of colorful tiles set against a orange stone wall
    Area of Work
    History & Culture
    NPF’s History & Culture programs support dynamic educational programs, professional development opportunities, rehabilitation of historic sites, and the preservation of artifacts and places that help us better understand America today by fully reflecting our past.
  • Cattle grate leading across an expansive landscape at sunset
    Project
    NPS Theme Study
    In 2013, NPF’s Latino Heritage Fund sponsored a theme study for the National Park Service. The study, “American Latinos and the Making of the United States,” provides a framework for NPS to continue their work to identify, preserve, and interpret places that tell stories of Latinos in the U.S.
Related Stories
Stairs leading up to the Memorial Garden at Cesar E Chavez National Monument
Partner Q&A
Interview with Andres Chavez
In honor of Latino Conservation Week in 2022, the Cesar Chavez Foundation sat down with the National Chavez Center’s Executive Director, Andres Chavez, to learn about their role in preserving the legacy of Cesar Chavez.
Learn More about Interview with Andres Chavez
Behind glass, a ring of vintage keys
Be Part of the Past and Future of Our Parks

You can help improve access to places, cultural resources, and stories that give Americans a stronger connection to our country.  Support NPF’s work around preserving the history and culture that live within our national parks.

Donate Today