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Environmental Racism Changes in Use and Perception of Wilderness By Beth Darnell LAR 512 Recreational Dimensions in Natu

Environmental Racism Changes in Use and Perception of Wilderness By Beth Darnell LAR 512 Recreational Dimensions in Natural Resource Management Randy Gimblett. Outline Background Changes in Users of Wilderness Changes in Perception of Conservation and Wilderness

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Environmental Racism Changes in Use and Perception of Wilderness By Beth Darnell LAR 512 Recreational Dimensions in Natu

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  1. Environmental Racism Changes in Use and Perception of Wilderness By Beth Darnell LAR 512 Recreational Dimensions in Natural Resource Management Randy Gimblett

  2. Outline • Background • Changes in Users of Wilderness • Changes in Perception of • Conservation and Wilderness • Implications for the Future

  3. Background • Original concept of Wilderness formed by white, educated men who: • were raised in a rural setting • formed early emotional/poetic attachments to natural • were not dependent on it for subsistence • had the freedom and security to enjoy its beauty

  4. The Original Players Robert Marshall • Principal founder of The Wilderness Society • Shaped U.S. Forest Service’s policy on wilderness designation and management • Wrote on all aspects of conservation and preservation • Held a doctorate in Forestry • “To us, the enjoyment of solitude, complete independence, and the beauty of undefiled panoramas is absolutely essential to happiness”

  5. The Original Players Aldo Leopold • spent his boyhood years exploring and hunting in the nearby woods, swamps and fields • held a graduate degree in forestry from Yale • joined the forest Service in 1919 • taught game management • Developed idea of “land ethic”, inspired by working on the “Shack”, a cabin he purchased on the Wisconsin River • “A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these 'resources,' but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state.”

  6. Changes in Users of Wilderness “Within the next three decades, demographers say, white Americans raised on the idea of spending summer vacations in national parks will give way to a new majority of Asians, Hispanics and African Americans. This emerging plurality may not possess the same affinity for exploring crown-jewel nature preserves like the Grand Canyon or historical sites that largely celebrate the feats of white males.”

  7. 2002 National and Regional Project Results National and Regional Project Results 2002 Nearly 70 percent (69.7%) of National Forest visitors are men. More than ninety percent (92.0%) are white. Visitations from specific minority groups are: Hispanic (3.7% of all visitors), Asian (1.6%), Native American (0.8%), African-American (0.7%) and Pacific Islanders (0.4%). Among age groups, the ones representing the greatest proportion of visitors were 31-40 years old (25.4%), 41-50 (24.5%). The 21-30 (11.2%) and 51-60 (11.7%) groups were about the same proportions. Children under the age of 16 accounted for 14.3% of visitors. Older Americans made up a much smaller proportion of visitors. Persons between the ages of 61 and 70 made-up about 7.5% of all visitors, and those over age 70 accounted for 2.9%.

  8. 2000-2001 National Visitor Use Monitoring Project Visitors categorized themselves into one of seven race/ethnicity categories. Table 6. Race/ethnicity of Coronado NF recreation visitors

  9. Table 9. Race/ethnicity of Coronado NF Wilderness visitors Wow!

  10. American Users of Wilderness: What’s missing in these pictures? “wilderness recreation”

  11. “Urban Wilderness”

  12. Traditional Users (in general): • Identify themselves, in fact or philosophy, with activities • and values of outdoor groups such as the Sierra Club • Enjoy hiking as their primary outdoor activity • Generally are affluent Anglo-Saxons • Hold a strong environmental conservation ethic • May not be frequent users but fervently support their conservation beliefs

  13. Non-Traditional Users (in general): • Have lower incomes • Are often people of color • Enjoy social, concentrated use of urban wilderness areas more than solitary hiking

  14. So what’s the problem? As with most conflict in recreation management, problems arise from opposing needs of different types of users • Non-Traditional Users want: • Easy access • Easily accessible recreation facilities • Amenities such as trees, grass, playing fields, areas in which to hang out, group picnic areas, places for children to play, restroom, easily accessible parking, and specialty facilities for at-risk youth

  15. Environmental Racism Myth: “Recreational overuse and abuse by non-traditional users, especially low-income people and people of color, consistently diminishes the biological diversity of urban wilderness” (Hutchison in Hester,

  16. “Human presence in an area which is being managed for conservation has some impact on that environment, which usually can be construed as negative from the perspective of wildlife and vegetation management” • Some specific impacts that have been measured are: • Human presence in remote areas have negative effects on wildlife species that include nest abandonment, change in food habits and elevated heart rates (Knight and Gutzwiller in Hester • Predation by domestic pets have negative impacts on small vertebrate and bird species • Trampling of vegetation leading to compacted soils and invasion by non-native plant species

  17. Some Questions Are these activities typical of traditional or Non-Traditional Users? How do we go about “pav(ing) the way toward discussion of the provision of equal opportunities for all types of users”? Through more scientific and empirical approaches to determining impacts?

  18. Changes in Concept of Wilderness and Environmental Preservation “We assume that our perceptions of environmental problems and their solutions are the correct ones, based as they are on Western rational thought and scientific analysis. And we often present the preservation of wilderness as part of the solution toward a better planet under the presumption that we know what is to be preserved and how it is to be managed” -Gomez-Pompa and Kaus, p 271

  19. Western Concept of Wilderness • Urban standards are used to define what actions have negative affects on the quality of life • Wilderness is a place “hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain” • Wilderness represents an environment of ecological stability or equilibrium • Conservation requires that natural areas be protected from human actions and serve as outdoor laboratories for the scientific community • Wilderness is a frontier to be tamed and managed

  20. In essence: “The concept of wilderness as an area without people has influenced thought and policy throughout the development of the Western world” (Pompa and Kaus)

  21. Study of 2 Oases on either side of the U.S./Mexico border “the customary land-use practices of Papago farmers on the Mexican side of the border contributed to the biodiversity for the oasis. In turn, the protection from land use of an oasis 54 km to the northwest, within the U.S. Organ Pipe National Monument, resulted in a decline in the species diversity over a 25-year period.” (Hester)

  22. Implications for the Future • Some considerations for designers and planners: • Cultural conflicts will likely persist into the future and cross-cultural political action will be necessary to unify people and their perception of wilderness so that areas can continue to be acquired • Regional and site specific science is necessary to dispel myths that arise from social conflicts. • “Information can alter prejudiced behavior” • Siting of recreation facilities should be at the edges of large core areas of wilderness • Ecologically fragile areas should be demarcated • “Environmental awareness and cross-cultural understanding are the keys to resolving many of the social and biodiversity conflicts in urban wilderness areas”

  23. “Hay que cuidar, verdad?

  24. Parks Service is: • adding more parks and cultural sites to reflect a wider range of ethnic interests • expanding the diversity of the work force within the park service • expanding the diversity of park users by trying to “recruit” urban visitors and reaffirm their opportunity to be stakeholders in shaping the national park system.

  25. Forest Service recommends: • the need to focus more on values beyond purely recreational • the need for better knowledge about the values minorities associate with wilderness • “The need to ensure that the values, interests and skills related to being in a natural environment are encouraged in youg people”

  26. Perception Benefits Limits of Acceptible Change Values

  27. Closingquotes “Wilderness runs the risk of being thought of as an elitist value and if we don’t collect more data on ethnic minorities and other non-users, we won’t know if wilderness is indeed an elitist notion or if it has broad support” (Cook and Borrie)

  28. “A shared perception of caring for the land can be emphasized in conservation policy and education. However, integrating this perception requires acknowledging the presence of humans in wilderness areas.” (Pompa and Kaus)

  29. “In America, alas, beauty has become something you drive to, and nature an either/or proposition – either you ruthlessly subjugate it … or you deify it, treat it as something holy and remote, a thing apart, as along the Appalachian Trail. Seldom would it occur to anyone on either side that people and nature could coexist to their mutual benefit.” (Bryce)

  30. End

  31. References Bryson, Bill. A Walk in the Woods. New York. Broadway Books 1998 Cook, Barbara and William Borrie. “Trends in Recreation Use and Management of Wilderness.”. International Journal of Wilderness. Vol 1 No 2 (Dec 1995) Gomez-Pompa, Arturo and Andrea Kaus. “Taming the Wilderness Myth” BioScience Vol 42 No 4 (April 1992) pp 271-279 Hester, Randolph T. and Nova J. Blazej, Ian S. Moore. “Whose Wild? Resolving Cultural and Biological Diversity Conflicts In Urban Wilderness” Landscape Journal. Pp 145 Wilkinson, Todd. Parks Work to Attract Minorities” The Christiosn Science Monitor. (Feb.1, 1999) Http://www.wilderness .org/abouttws/history.htm

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