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Why Blacks don't visit National Parks?

simbasimba Posts: 6,092Registered User Senior Member
edited August 2009 in Parent Cafe
My wife asked me that very question last week and it puzzled me. Just few mins. ago they had a very similar news segment on ABC. It said less than 1% of blacks visit National Park and there are only handful of black park rangers. Why is that?

I personally had not visited any National Park till 1995 and since then I am in love with them. Can't wait till I am 62. I then can go to any park for a one time cost of $10.
Post edited by simba on
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Replies to: Why Blacks don't visit National Parks?

  • ThatPoshGirlThatPoshGirl Posts: 550Registered User Member
    Isn't the percentage of Americans who visit national parks pretty low in general? I've heard if you go to a national park most people there are people on vacation from other countries.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,506Super Moderator Senior Member
    I just spent the week at a beautiful national park in Michigan (Sleeping Bear Dunes). While sitting on an incredible sugar sand beach with one of the most amazing views (Platte Pointe Beach), I actually wondered this very same thing. I only saw a couple black families on the dunes, and I didn't see any on the beach. When I returned, I told my coworkers where I had been. No one, black/white/Latino, had been there - and it's less than four hours away. So maybe ThatPoshGirl is right!
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 32,838Registered User Senior Member
    I know a lot of people who don't enjoy the outdoors.
    You have to start them young like this
    Events - Building Bridges to the Outdoors - Sierra Club
  • worried_momworried_mom Posts: 2,205Registered User Senior Member
    Could part of the reason be location? The majority of blacks live in the Southeast or in larger urban areas in the north (NY, Philly, Detroit, Chicago, etc.), but most of the national parks (at least the bigger, more well-known ones) are out West.
  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Posts: 24,853Registered User Senior Member
    I had an interesting insight about this during a retreat to help people of all races heal from the legacy of slavery.

    The retreat was in a rural area, and as a result of a writing exercise there, I realized that I have a fear of rural areas because of knowing how it has been dangerous -- even in my lifetime for black people to go to rural areas in all parts of the country, not just the South. This was because of organizations like the KKK as well as towns that literally would have signs that told blacks to get out by sundown.

    I think that these kind of fears literally sink into one's genes and get passed on from generation to generation.

    After having to do an Outward Bound experience as part of a fellowship, I decided to take my family camping. We cheerfully took off, found a camping spot and stayed less than an hour because the campground was filled with white people with confederate flags on their vehicles, and my family didn't feel comfortable there.

    My in-laws are among the rare black people who camp, and I attribute that to the fact that MIL is Canadian (Her ancestors were escaped slaves who moved to rural Ontario), and didn't experience many of the fears about racism that black people in this country experienced.

    My family does visit things like National Parks, but overall, I think that all of us would prefer visiting cities. I feel more comfortable in even cities with well deserved reps of being dangerous than I feel in most rural areas. I'm more likely to blend in and be overlooked in most cities.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 32,838Registered User Senior Member
    I havent been to the east coast, but on the west coast I dont think I have ever seen a confederate flag.
    People around here are more likely to have Straight but not Narrow bumperstickers or Whirled Peas.
    ;)
  • NaturallyNaturally Posts: 1,308Registered User Member
    I see a surprising number of Confederate flag bumper stickers around here (eastern Washington).
  • ThatPoshGirlThatPoshGirl Posts: 550Registered User Member
    I grew up in rural northern California and there's a lot of that kind of stuff up there.
  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Posts: 24,853Registered User Senior Member
    I've seen confederate flags in rural areas of the west. There also are clusters of white supremists in various areas of the West and Midwest for that matter.
  • aibarraibarr Posts: 4,248Registered User Senior Member
    Wow, NSM... That's really terrible. Camping was always such a great experience when I was a kid. My mom was my Girl Scout leader, and her family camped all the time when she was a kid. Never saw any confederate flags at Girl Scout camps, thankfully.

    I do see confederate flags at a lot of campsites down south. I try to put a few campsites between me and them, and I generally keep my distance, but while they turn my stomach, I don't feel personally threatened... I can definitely see how if I were black, I'd pack my bags if someone started flying one of those things next door.

    Sigh... that bites. It's so pretty out there in the parks.
  • FindAPlaceFindAPlace Posts: 4,706Registered User Senior Member
    Perhaps the First Family has taken notice. I heard on the news that the Obamas have just finished visits to Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Park, two of the finest.
  • ConsolationConsolation Posts: 14,285Registered User Senior Member
    NSM, try camping at Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert in Maine. You won't see the Confederate flag crowd there. And it is beautiful and has lots of great day hikes: bald summits overlooking the ocean.
  • maritemarite Posts: 21,586Registered User Senior Member
    Or go to Martha's Vineyard. Oaksbluff has a vibrant African-American community, (Boston Globe has an article about it).
  • walkinghomewalkinghome Posts: 6,903Registered User Senior Member
    My Mom was co-leader of a Girl Scout troop in Lower Delaware in the '70's. Her co-leader was black and about 1/2 of our troop was black. We had lots of fun camping!

    I've got to say that was fairly unusual but we were in a small town that was very integrated. If you grow up in a small town, I'm guessing that you would be more comfortable in small towns. I'm not real comfortable in city's, but I like to visit them once in a while.
  • poetsheartpoetsheart Posts: 5,082Registered User Senior Member
    I have to say that I agree entirely with Northstarmom's assessment in post no.6, but of course that's not likely to be an answer Simba is willing to accept.:rolleyes:
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