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Latino Conservation Week Wraps Up in Wyoming

The third annual Latino Conservation Week hit Wyoming with full force with events at Grand Teton National Park. (Pixabay)
The third annual Latino Conservation Week hit Wyoming with full force with events at Grand Teton National Park. (Pixabay)
July 22, 2016

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The third annual Latino Conservation Week hit Wyoming with full force, complete with Talks and Tamales at Grand Teton National Park and three days of paddling on Lake Jackson.

Maite Arce president and chief executive of the Hispanic Access Foundation said the goal is to get more Latinos, including children, away from screens, and outdoors to enjoy Wyoming's public lands.

"It's also an opportunity to make sure that the Latino community is aware of other places that may not be traditionally visited by us," he said. "We break down those barriers to having them be able to actively enjoy their public lands."

Arce points to research by Colorado College showing that while more than 90 percent of Latinos are in favor of conservation, only eight percent say they engage in outdoor recreation. The call to celebrate public lands comes as Republican leaders at their national convention in Cleveland passed a party platform that includes allowing the sale of some National Park lands.

The Latino community, at 50 million strong, is the largest minority group in the U.S. Arce said Latino Conservation Week puts a spotlight on the community's efforts to protect public lands, not just by clean-up efforts, but also at the ballot box.

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

The Colorado College research found a majority of Hispanics are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports selling off public lands, and more than 60 percent say funding for national parks, national forests and other public lands should not be cut because it provides a big return for a small investment.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY