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Home / News / Environment / Latino environmental groups push for greater access to public lands

Latino environmental groups push for greater access to public lands

by Public News Service
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Conservation groups are circulating a petition asking the feds to give “America the Beautiful National Parks and Recreation Lands” passes to new citizens at their naturalization ceremony. Members of the group Green Latinos have met with multiple federal agencies to pitch the idea.

Louis Medina, communications and philanthropy director with the nonprofit Friends of the Inyo, said it would make a great “Welcome to America” gift.

“It would be a great way of giving them the best that America has to offer. It could instill greater patriotism and pride, and it could create new allies in the environmental movement,” Medina contended.

The pass normally costs $80 per year and gets one car with up to four adults into all national parks and monuments. Last year, more than 878,000 people became U.S. citizens.

The group also wants to start holding naturalization ceremonies at sites on public lands. And they’d like to reverse the trend of national parks going “cashless,” as they have at Yosemite and Death Valley.

Medina added parks may save money by requiring everyone to pay by card, but it risks turning people away who don’t have credit cards or mobile payment apps.

“For communities of color and immigrant communities that already are having issues in accessing our national parks, because of costs, because of distance, or because of lack of familiarity, then cashless entry creates yet another barrier,” he continued.

The petition currently sports more than 900 signatures and is available on the Green Latinos website.

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