Archive for National Parks
www.lemonde.fr 19th April 2012
Yesterday (18th April), French Prime Minister Francois Fillon officially signed into being the country’s tenth national park near Marseille. Covering an area of 150,000 hectares (of which 43,500 are at sea), ‘le parc national des Calanques’ (roughly translated: Creeks National Park) even covers some suburb areas of Marseille, the second largest city in France with a population of 800,000. The mayor of the city, Jean-Claude Gaudin, was a supporter of the project because, he says, the great beauty of the area had brought in people who didn’t care for the preservation of the local environment. However, there are those who fear the creation of the new ‘parc national’ will bring in too many restrictions on local activities, more development, and the alienation of the local community. Semeriva Francis, a 66 year old represented a community of cabanoniers (people who own small holiday sheds) in the Sormiou Marie valley, was particularly worried: ”There is no one more environmentally friendly than we are. The creeks, they were always protected, while the creation of the park will attract millions more people and with them new regulations. Cabanoniers will be treated like tourists.” Others worry about increased pollution brought about by new development. Not so long ago, the infamous Marseille ‘Red Mud’ blighted the park from sewage outflows within the area that is now the park.
The first French national park, La Vanoise, was set up in 1963 and covers 53,500 hectares in the Savoie region.
www.nytimes.com 2nd November 2010
The concerns of a Yosemite National Park ranger about the lack of fellow African-Americans visiting the park have finally manifested itself in an hour-long Oprah Winfrey show. Shelton Johnson, 52, wrote to the television host following statistics showing that of the 285.5 million visitors to America’s national parks, the large majority are ‘non-Hispanic whites’ with blacks the least likely to visit. The data highlights the problem national park authorities are having to increase diversity in visiting groups in time for the centennial celebrations in 2016. Although individual parks do not record visitors by race or ethnicity, a comprehensive survey in 2000 revealed that only 13% of Black respondents had been to a national park in the past 2 years compared to 27% of Latinos, 29% of Asians, and 36% of Whites. Surveys carried out since indicate this gap has not diminished. For wilderness parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone, these statistics alter drastically: 77% white, 11% Latino, 11% Asian, and just 1% Black. Ms. Winfrey has herself visited Yosemite to film a two-part show. It is her first time in a national park and camping.