It has been widely publicized the absence of African Americans in our National Parks, both in employees and visitors. Through this event I hope to gain the attention of African Americans across the country, so that they will see the benefits of being out in nature, protecting and securing our vital natural resources.  The contributions made by African Americans to this country through our national parks, often goes unpublicized or mentioned through any media. Take for instance the Buffalo Soldiers. The Buffalo Soldiers patrolled several national parks and were vital assets during the early stages of development.

 

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They patrolled such parks as Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, in California. The first African American Superintendent of a National park, Colonel Charles Young, was stationed at Sequoia National Park. President Barrack Obama recently dedicated a National Monument in his honor. This event shows that African Americans across the country can and will engage in outdoor activities, when they feel encourage to do so. Seeing other faces out in our national parks that look like theirs, not only in park visitors, but in park employees as well, has proven to be key in engaging audiences of color.

 

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Through the stories and pictures submitted by participants from previous years, an image developed, an image of African Americans connecting to our national parks in a way that is seldom seen.  The event is scheduled to take place the first weekend of June, which also happens to be national trails day. The concept remains the same, pick a park and go. Snap a photo of yourself and post it to our Facebook page: African American National Park Event.

I believe this grassroots project is a vital component in engaging future stewards of the great outdoors, by reminding all who participate of the legacy our ancestors forged by protecting these grand resources. And in doing so, we ensure their stories will be around for years to come.

Teresa Baker, Founder.

 

Press release republished with permission