NPS National Recreation Area Could Improve Access, Ease Park Disparities

Posted: December 11th, 2012

The National Park Service (NPS) draft study of the proposed national recreation area for the San Gabriel Mountains focuses on improving access to green space and easing park disparities in the Los Angeles region.

Citing the work of The City Project and others, NPS highlights:

  • Statewide, Los Angeles County is one of the most disadvantaged counties for parks and green space for children and people of color.
  • People of color are less likely to have access to parks. Non Hispanic Whites have disproportionately greater access to parks and green space, compared to Latinos and African-Americans. These groups are 12-15 times more likely to have less park acreage per capita when compared to Non Hispanic Whites.
  • County averages can mask dramatic disparities in access to green space within the county.

This is an important step to address social equity, human health, economic vitality and job creation, and cultural and spiritual values, in addition to impacts on the natural environment. The City Project and diverse allies recommend strengthening Alternative D by (1) creating local green jobs that reflect the diversity of the region, (2) implementing Transit to Trails programs to take urban youth and their family and friends to natural green spaces, (3) serving diverse needs by including both active and passive recreation, (4) studying, celebrating, and preserving cultural, heritage, and public art sites, (5) developing culturally- and language-appropriate facilities, signage, and programming, (6) complying with equal justice laws and principles for equal access to public resources, (7) expanding the NRA boundaries to include the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo River corridors, urban communities south of the San Gabriel Mountains, and nearby cultural, art and heritage sites, (8) expanding the NRA boundaries to ensure connectivity among urban areas along the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo Rivers, Puente-Chino Hills, and Chino Hills State Park, and (9) funding fully the proposed NRA.

The NPS draft study is a best practice for how to analyze green access, health, and equal justice under the President’s Order 12898 on Environmental Justice. Click here to read the most relevant sections of the draft NPS study, citing the work of The City Project and others.

The final NPS study and recommendation is expected in early 2013. Click here to access the NPS San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study draft summary.

Click to read the public comments submitted by the diverse allies below, who are part of the San Gabriel Mountains Forever coalition.

Read the KCET Departures column Bringing the San Gabriel Mountains Closer to the People by Robert García.

Click to access The City Project’s most recent policy report on green access and equity: Healthy Parks, Schools and Communities: Mapping Green Access and Equity for Southern California.

The following allies submitted the public comments: Robert Bracamontes, Yu-va’-tal ‘A’lla-mal (Black Crow), Acjachemen Nation, Juaneño Tribe; Anahuak Youth Soccer Association; Asian and Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance; Jack K. Shu, California State Parks (retired); The City Project; Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles; Earthwise Productions, Inc.; Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC); Mia Lehrer & Associates, Landscape Architects; Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust; PolicyLink; Natural Resources Defense Council; Marc Brenman, Social Justice Policy Consultant; Nina S. Roberts, Associate Professor, San Francisco State University (for identification only); SPARC (Social and Public Art Resource Center).