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NPS Significant Efforts Needed To Ensure Park Access for Communities of Color

The National Park Service (NPS) acknowledges access to parks and recreational facilities for communities of color is a serious concern. “[C]ommunities of color and children have disproportionately low access to parks and open space in Los Angeles County,” according to a NPS draft study of the proposed national recreation area in the San Gabriels.

Citing The City Project’s work, NPS found “many families in the low income neighborhoods of the region often do not have cars nor are near public transportation systems that allow for access to regional parks.”

NPS recognizes that “significant efforts will need to take place to ensure sufficient opportunities for diverse recreational experiences in the future.” Community groups, civic leaders, and government agencies are working to create and maintain open space in the Los Angeles area that can be used for recreation, biking, walking, equestrian, plant nursery, and other activities.

“As many of these opportunity areas span political boundaries and are beyond local municipality control, a regional, effective, and comprehensive approach should be taken when examining these opportunity sites. In doing so, barriers related to the relatively fragmented political character of these cities must be overcome so as to ensure effective and comprehensive management policies for regional recreation and open space planning,” NPS stated.

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 here to read the public comments to diversify access to and support for the San Gabriels submitted by diverse allies, 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.

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).