A recent poll challenges the stereotype that people of color aren't interested in outdoor recreation or national parks.
New America Media surveyed 900 African American, Latino and Asian Pacific-American voters nationwide about their recreation habits. Seventy percent of participants said they enjoy activities like picnicking, camping, fishing and hunting. And 57 percent of respondents said they've visited a national park — more than two-thirds of them in the past three years.
The numbers do not surprise Rue Mapp, the founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro, which sponsors outdoor activities. She says she's talked with lots of blacks who love spending time in wild places.
“I’ve been out in the field and I have been listening to the stories," Mapp says. "I have been pushing back on the stereotypes and assumptions. My answer has been consistently that you’re not looking in the right places.”
It’s important to note that the poll surveyed voters. The results reflect higher interest levels than one might deduce from national visitation numbers. The most recent survey of national parks in 2009 showed that only one in five tourists was a person of color. Yet, the country is twice that diverse.