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Latino Conservation Week: Highlighting ND's Protected Lands

Hispanic community members are being encouraged to show their passion for protected areas, including the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, as part of Latino Conservation Week. (Hispanic Access Foundation)
Hispanic community members are being encouraged to show their passion for protected areas, including the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, as part of Latino Conservation Week. (Hispanic Access Foundation)
July 18, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. -- This week marks the third annual Latino Conservation Week, and organizers are shining a spotlight on the Latino community's concern for preserving North Dakota's natural resources.

Several groups, including the National Park Service, encouraged Latinos to go camping and hiking and to engage in other outdoor activities as part of the week-long push. Maite Arce, president of the Hispanic Access Foundation, said the event also celebrates the Latino community's role in preserving and protecting public lands in many ways. But, Arce said, there are also some concerns.

"Teddy Roosevelt Park ... recently had the refinery approved by the Billings County Commission to be developed there right next to the park,” Arce said. "So, that's going to affect the experience of the 600,000 people who visit."

The call to enjoy public lands comes as Republican leaders gather at their National Convention in Cleveland to discuss a proposed party platform which includes a call to remove some public areas - including national parks - from federal protection.

With more than 50 million people, the Latino community is the largest minority group in the U.S., and the number of Hispanic people living in North Dakota is now more than 26,000. With so many Latinos now living in the state, Arce argues they can help play a role in local conservation efforts.

"By Latino voters there is concern about making sure our natural resources are preserved long into the future,” she said. "So, really thinking about tomorrow and protecting those lands from development and other threats."

Over the past three years, Latino Conservation Week has grown from 17 events in just a handful of states to more than 100 events across the country.


A full list of events is available at latinoconservationweek.com.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - ND