The National Parks are known to be colorful, from the wildflowers to brilliant sunsets and sunrises to the wide diversity of colorful animals and even to the rainbow colored waters. However, there is one area in which our parks are seriously lacking in color and that is within the people who visit our national treasures. Out of the over 307 million people who visit our parks each year, a surprisingly low percentage of them are minorities. In fact, only 22% of the people who visit the parks identify as non-white. This is a troubling statistic, and it is one that needs to change. But how?
Every Kid in the Park
After the news of the Federal Budget increase for the National Park Service, several more initiatives have been announced as the NPS undergoes a rebrand in order for their centennial in 2016. They are using their 100th birthday as an opportunity to change the way people think of, view, and visit the national park system. They are presenting the parks to an entirely new audience in order to sustain them for the next 100 years. Studies have shown that although visitation in the parks is up –with 292 million visits in 2014 alone-, the people who are visiting are mostly older Caucasians. Jonathan Jarvis explains that, “If we were a business and that was our clientele, then over the long term, we would probably be out of business.” The two initiatives are part of a major effort by the park service in order to breathe new life into the aging system to carry it in the future.