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National Parks struggle to increase diversity among visitors, employees

Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite National Park.
Hal Summers

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There are nearly 84 million acres of National Park Service land, from the Acadia National Park in Maine to Zion National Park in Utah. It's a diverse terrain, but the people who visit and man those parks are less diverse.

Nearly 80 percent of yearly visitors to National Parks are white, compared to their roughly 70 percent of the general population. Of the workforce, 80 percent are also white, and 85 percent of management positions are white.

Jodi Peterson writes in piece for High Country News, that the Parks system has known for decades about this problem. It has tried — mostly unsuccessfully — over the years to address it.

But as the country changes into a majority minority population and budgets for preserving park lands are increasingly threatened, the urgency in making the National Parks a priority for all Americans has never been greater.