Student Perspectives: This blog series was written by San Francisco State University students for the Recreational Use of Parks and Protected Areas course taught by Dr. Nina Roberts in Fall 2015. The goal of Dr. Roberts’ blog assignment was to show how student support of redwood parks can create new ways to foster equal access to nature by diverse communities. For this assignment, each student visited a local redwood park and wrote about their experience. Enjoy!
Can You Move a Mountain? Why Big Places Need Small People
by Cheyenne Liddicote
I think it would be safe to assume that most everyone can enjoy a peaceful walk in the woods. Whether you are 8, 18 or 80, no one can deny the staggering beauty of giant trunks rising into a canopy of green. Mount Tamalpais State Park is one of these unique places, home to breathtaking redwood groves. It towers above the bay just north of San Francisco in Marin County.
Unfortunately, places like Mount Tam aren’t always accessible to people and families of lower income and limited resources. Getting up to the top of the mountain is a long and twisty drive and is impossible for those without reliable transportation. Since state and national parks rely on visitor turnout to remain adequately funded and maintained, this can become quite a threat to the future of such parks.
So what can we do to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to experience this place?
There are many ways access could be improved, such as:
Better public transportation: Having bus lines running up and down the mountain with stops in multiple cities could provide access for people without cars.
Carpooling: Connect with your community! Heading out for the day and have room in the car? Bring someone without a ride.
Community outreach: Get local children and families excited about wildlife. A lot of people don’t access these parks because they don’t know they exist.
Sharing the experience: Go to events, visit the park, bring friends and family and tell others about your experience.
Improved access: One thing I noticed about Mount Tam was its lack of boardwalks and wheelchair-accessible pathways. Increased funding to build accessible amenities could bring in more visitors and ensure the park’s security.
So why is it important for you as an individual to get involved? It is because these unique and beautiful places rely on the support of the communities around them to thrive.
If you’re feeling inspired to support your local park, get involved today!