Editorial: USNPS still needs to do more to connect with people who aren’t white, male, and outdoorsy
People look confused when I tell them I’m interning for the National Park Service in downtown Seattle. “But you’re in the middle of the city,” they say. Yes, but while my work is on a noisy street instead of in quiet woods, I’m still in a park, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, on a crowded block in the city’s oldest neighborhood. As part of the agency’s In My Backyard program, I’m supposed to do community outreach, and my job brought me to a street fair called Dragon Fest in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District.
How do you create an instant national park? You can’t, but a “mobile park” team did its best, turning part of a Seattle sidewalk into a green area complete with ferns, plastic animals, stickers, a photo wall and an owl puppet that made children laugh when I flapped its wings and whistled, “Whooo, whooo.” While the kids played, adults pored over our interactive map of all 417 park units, and I heard many fond memories of road trips to parks and helped plan some future ones as well.