Expert Available: is African American underrepresentation in nature a myth?

Parks are for the people, but are they really for all people?

In 2018, less than one percent of National Park visitors were African American, while White individuals made up roughly 90 percent of park visitors.

As a result, researchers and practitioners have favored terms like Black under-participation or under-representation in nature tourism. But that’s disingenuous, according to KangJae “Jerry” Lee, PhD, assistant professor of parks, recreation & tourism in the College of Health at University of Utah Health.

Lee is available to critically discuss the idea of African American under-representation in outdoor recreation, touching on Black Americans’ deep historical relationship with nature, how group vs. individual concepts of nature activities shape perceptions of participation, and the idea that there is no objective standard to distinguish “over” or “under” participation in outdoor recreation.

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