california state parks

Outdoor Afro

 

One of the Bay Area’s main attractions is its proximity to nature. Only 45 minutes separate Bay Area residents from arriving at the ocean, the mountains, or a hiking trail. But not everybody experiences the Bay Area’s natural beauty. A 2012 study by the Outdoor Foundation found that only 11% of outdoor recreation participants are black. And National Parks Service estimates that black Americans comprise only  7% of its annual visitors.

The Buffalo Soldiers were some of our country’s first park rangers. They proudly wore their uniforms with wide brimmed ranger hats and navy blue jackets adorned with gold stripes.  Just after the Civil War, the US government formed these regiments of black soldiers to patrol and protect nationally designated park land, claimed after the Indian Wars. And their journey started right here in the Bay Area where the Buffalo Soldiers gathered in San Francisco’s Presidio before heading into the mountains of Yosemite and beyond.

How do you close a beach?

Jun 25, 2012
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mon_oeil/1420748384

I’m standing on a beach smack dab in the middle of California. The breeze coming off the jetty is getting violent, and it’s really cold. Through the fog, I can only see a couple hundred feet of gray ocean. This is where I meet Mike French.

He’s standing on a windy bluff away from the water – reading the low waves and the bored surfers for signs of a good set. He’s a local.

French comes to the beach to read the waves several times throughout the week. “And it’s only good enough to go in once or twice a week, particularly at this time of year,” says French.

Associated Press // The popularity of California’s 280 state parks may be a factor in why California legislators are developing bi-partisan legislation to them. Californians camped at 10,000 sites in state parks over the Memorial Day weekend, yet even a quarter of those parks are expected to close this July.