Cartoon of Black climber climbing a mountain on left side, and group of BIPOC campers on right side with text over images that reads 'Diversity in the Outdoors'

The Past, Current, and Future Presence of Black, Indigenous, & People of Color in National Parks & Beyond

Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) have historically been excluded from the narrative surrounding outdoor recreation in the United States and while the inclusion of BIPOC communities in the outdoors remains low in comparison to white participants, there have been both historic and current efforts by organizations and individuals to help increase the number of BIPOC outdoor recreationists. With the help of nonprofit organizations fighting to create space for BIPOC in nature, significant milestones completed by BIPOC individuals, and the revitalization of the work done by communities of color during the development of the National Parks Service (NPS), we can recognize the participation and accomplishments of BIPOC in nature, while also questioning why such accomplishments are rarely celebrated or noticed. This project seeks to answer the following questions:

  • What has the relationship with outdoor recreation and access to National Parks looked like for BIPOC communities throughout history?
  • In what forms are BIPOC showing up in the outdoors today?

To answer this, sites and various forms of media will be examined to consider the presence of and continued growth of BIPOC participation in outdoor recreation while simultaneously acknowledging the historical barriers they face in accessing the outdoors. 

Diversity in the Outdoors is a digital site created by Emma Schatz for CHICLA 520: Latinx Digital Publics, a course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 13 May 2022. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Works Cited List can be found here.

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