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PNS Daily Newscast - November 11, 2018. 


More than 12-hundred missing in the California wildfires. Also on the Monday rundown: a pair of reports on gun violence in the nation; plus concerns that proposed Green-Card rules favor the wealthy.

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Coalition Urges Greater Diversity to Protect Public Lands

On the eve of the National Park Service's centennial celebration, a coalition is petitioning the Obama administration to make public lands more welcoming to people of all colors in the next 100 years. (National Park Service)
On the eve of the National Park Service's centennial celebration, a coalition is petitioning the Obama administration to make public lands more welcoming to people of all colors in the next 100 years. (National Park Service)
May 5, 2016

DENVER – As the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service approaches, a coalition of civil rights, conservation and environmental justice groups has launched a petition calling on President Barack Obama to issue an executive order to make public lands more inclusive.

Jes Ward, executive director of the advocacy group City Wild, says to survive the next hundred years, the nation's parks and lands need to reflect the diversity of all Americans.

"The outdoors is a pretty exclusive place,” she states. “There's economic barriers, there are cultural barriers, there's ideologies and history that keep people of color from accessing the outdoors in the same ways."

Ward points to recent congressional efforts to sell off public lands, and argues without a broad base of support that goes beyond the traditional white backpacking crowd, the nation is at risk of losing valuable historic and cultural resources.

Maite Arce, president of the Hispanic Access Foundation, says one key to making public lands more welcoming is to ensure visitors see more people like themselves at the park gates and beyond.

"But without diverse individuals working on these lands and for our parks, it's really going to be difficult to develop the kind of innovations you need to successfully develop programming that reaches and engages different populations," she stresses.

Ward agrees, and says it's also important for plaques and markers to go beyond traditional Eurocentric perspectives and include the histories and languages of all peoples who have made their mark on lands owned by all Americans.

"If we're going to be successful with conservation and people caring about the environment, people caring about nature, people being connected to nature, we can't continue just demographically,” she stresses. “We can't continue with that mindset. We need to have a more diverse approach."

The coalition has posted its policy recommendations, which it is urging the current and next president to use as a blueprint for the nation's second century of conservation, at change.org.


Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO