Latino Sites Identified as Potential National Parks

Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post, January 4, 2012

Continuing his push to identify more historic sites important to the nation’s Hispanics, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar plans to tout a new report Wednesday identifying several sites tied to Latino heritage in Colorado and New Mexico that could one day become national parks or historic landmarks.

Notably, one of the sites happens to be in Salazar’s back yard.

The report, requested by Salazar, should help his personal goal of establishing more national parks and historic sites tied to minorities. The fact that the sites are in two swing states with burgeoning Hispanic populations means that the report also could be seen as an overture to the nation’s Latino voters, a bloc being aggressively wooed by President Obama’s reelection campaign.

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Salazar, the Obama administration’s most senior Hispanic official and Colorado’s former senator and attorney general, plans to visit his home state to formally unveil the report, published late last month, that labels 3.26 million acres in Colorado’s San Luis Valley and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and northern New Mexico as areas that could one day become part of a national park or historic site.

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In October, Salazar said the Park Service needed to identify more sites tied to minorities that could be added to the park system, noting that less than 3 percent of all national landmarks are designated for women, Latinos or African Americans. Last year, he ordered agency officials to identify sites nationwide that could eventually join the nation’s network of parks and historic sites, including California’s “Forty Acres” site used by labor activist Cesar Chavez in the 1960s to raise awareness about migrant farm workers.

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  • Clhawk57

    Imagine the uproar if anyone wanted a National Park dedicated to white explorers.

    • Srdennis

      We do have such a thing:  the Lewis and Clark National park and the Lewis and Clark trail (which covers 11 states)  No “uproar” from anyone.  Your sense of victimization is merely  fantasy.

  • Anonymous

    Hispanic parks?  Someplace to leave chicken bones and beer bottles?

  • Gerald Martin

    This is funny. These areas are already meccas for mountain climbers and backpackers – 99% white. (I’ve hiked the Blanca Peak area and Sangre de Christo Mountains many times myself.)  Most of the historical sites are already visited frequently by RVers and retired couples – 99.9% white. All of the land not in private hands is national forest or federal wilderness. In other words, it’s ALREADY a place the public likes to go, and that means the WHITE public. Some hispanic families do like to camp and fish (though they seldom hike, climb or backpack), and if this initiative increases the number of campgrounds, fine – but most of the people taking advantage of the expanded opportunites will be white.

    But I doubt much will be done: the federal gov’t in general and the National Park Service in particular is so broke they don’t have the $$$ to buy any more land, except perhaps a few token ranch sites or cabins comprising a few hundre acres at most. 

    The good news: if this initiative does amount to anything, it will benefit white folks more than anyone.

  • I get the hunch that these new Hispanic National Parks could be used for cannabis farms, and to start wild fires to distract the authorities away from the activities of drug runners.  Good thing that doesn’t happen any existing National Parks.

  • Why does it seems everything these people do must have their ethnicity attached to it? And they have the gall to call us “racists.” 

  • Bardon Kaldian

    Hahahh…..but these sites are essentially Spanish Conquistadors’ places. Maybe a time has come for a Hernan Cortez day ?