Student Perspectives: This blog series was written by San Francisco State University students for the Recreational Use of Parks and Protected Areas course. The goal of the 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!
You are the proud owner of over 250 million acres of land (external link) — majestic redwoods, breath-taking beaches, and erupting volcanoes. Over 100 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt Jr. signed into action the Antiquities Act which paved way for the protection of the beautiful valleys and mountain tops of our national monuments.
In 1906, the population of San Francisco was 95% White, less than 5% Pacific Islanders, and less than 1% African American1. Today, California is 39% White, 15% Asian, 38% Hispanic and 6% African American2. When our national parks were made in 1906, they were meant for the enjoyment of these white communities but today, our country is more diverse and our parks reflect these societal changes.
Today, our national parks embrace diversity and aim to be more accessible — regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic background. Our national parks, scenic trails, forests, and rivers are open to everyone. Our parks have turned a new leaf.
Across the country, renovations have been made to make parks wheelchair accessible, have included information in multiple languages to encourage people from all backgrounds to enjoy our parks, and have funded programs for inner-city youth to have the opportunity to experience the outdoors. There is no barrier to nature and no law excluding anyone from enjoying the parks. You have the freedom to get lost in nature, to let your mind wander the landscapes and leave all the stressors of your everyday life behind. This land is your land, go out and play.
1San Francisco Earthquake of 1906: Census Facts. (2016, October 7). Retrieved from Infoplease: http://www.infoplease.com/spot/sanfranearthquakecensus.html
2Population Distribution by Race/Ethnicity. (2016, october 4). Retrieved from KFF.org: http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/distribution-by-raceethnicity/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D
3United States Census Bureau. (2016, October 5). Retrieved from 2010 Census Shows America’s Diversity: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/2010_census/cb11-cn125.html