Diversifying the outdoors

Getting the tent ready
Maxine Hall and her son Langston, 5, prepared their tent during the I Can Camp! workshop at Afton State Park in Afton, Minn. Thursday, July 1, 2010. In its first year of overnight activities, the I Can Camp! workshop offered families instruction on everything from campsite setup to meal preparation.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Whether it's hiking, climbing or a road tripping to a national park, being outdoors can be a lot of fun. For communities of color, historical trauma, and a lack of resources and access make it a challenge.

When the National Park Service (NPS) celebrated its 100 years of service in 2017, new data revealed that 78 percent of the park’s visitors were white, 7 percent were African-Americans -- far below their national population -- with Latinos, Native Americans and other nonwhite visitors notably invisible in the great outdoors.

NPS has acknowledged the need to make park spaces more accessible to communities of color; groups such as Outdoor Afro, Latino Outdoors and other community-based organizations have been established across the country to increase diversity in outdoor spaces. But access problems still exist.

MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with Verna Volker, Angelou Ezeilo and Caitlin Murray about diversifying the outdoors and encouraging communities of color to travel.

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Verna Volker is the founder of Native Women Running and a member of Native Women’s Wilderness

Angelou Ezeilo is the CEO & founder of the Greening Youth Foundation and author of Engage, Connect, Protect: Empowering Diverse Youth as Environmental Leaders

Caitlin Murray is the founder of Purposeful Nomad

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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