I saw an interesting post on The Adventure Journal’s website, and I just had to explore it.
There is a park ranger at Yosemite National Park in California who is trying hard to get more black Americans to visit America’s parks, Yosemite in particular.
His efforts already got Oprah Winfrey to camp at the park.
Next up: Getting rap star Snoop Dogg to set up camp and enjoy some time in the great outdoors.
The ranger, Shelton Johnson, is black. He’s the only African American park ranger at Yosemite, a post on the change.org website says. Johnson, originally from Detroit, estimates that less than 1 percent of Yosemite’s visitors are black, despite the park’s proximity to Oakland and several other major cities in California.
“All Snoop Dogg has to do is go camping in Yosemite and it would change the world,” Johnson is quoted as saying. “If Oprah Winfrey went on a road trip to the national parks, it would do more than I have done in my whole career.”
I think this is a very interesting take, getting famous black Americans to endorse visiting national parks.
If you think about it, the world of the outdoors doesn’t seem to be as cross-cultural as many other facets of life. Music, art, film, television, sports – all of these elements of American culture have seen a growing and healthy representation of many ethnicities. But when you look at ads for ski equipment, outdoor gear or the like, it’s pretty much as lilly white as it gets.
I’ve seen people of color on the slopes and on the trail, but my own experience seems to point toward the idea that all this camping/climbing/hiking stuff is mostly done by white folks. I know that’s not 100 percent true, but that perception is based, at least in part, in reality.
I’m curious about what you all think. Anyone out there who bucks the trend? I’d love to hear from you or anyone else who’d like to chime in on this subject.
If you want to read more about this, check out these two links: