Recent data from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department shows Black people are underrepresented as visitors to state parks. They make up 2.2% of Oregon’s population and 0.9% of daily visitors and 1.9% of overnight visitors to parks. Other underrepresented demographic groups include American Indian and Alaska Natives, with an estimated 1.8% population, and 1.4% day visitors and 1.2% overnight visitors and Latino people, with 13% of the Oregon population and 6% of day visitors and 5% of overnight visitors.
On the other hand, whites account for 76% of Oregon’s population but 88% of the system’s day visitors and 87% of its overnight visitors.
OPRD Spokesman Chris Havel said this is an issue his department has been struggling with for years. It’s been working with different community organizations to find solutions to make sure every person feels equally welcome when they visit state parks.
I’m not surprised. Considering recent media reports of the miscreants and reprobates who can be found on Oregon’s hiking trails, I don’t think even I would feel safe there.