National Park Service Reaches Out To Latinos

By Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
January 27, 2012

PHOENIX -- The National Park Service has developed a new program to connect with Latino communities across the country. It’s part of an overall effort to recognize the country’s ethnically diverse cultures.

The new program is called the American Latino Heritage Fund. It will help raise money to create programs to lure Hispanics into national parks.

The fund is part of the National Park Foundation, a non-profit created by congress to help preserve and care for the national parks.

Photo courtesy National Park Serivce.
Pecos Mission Ruins with Mystery Orb at Pecos Pueblo National Historic Landmark, Pecos, New Mexico.

Midy Aponte, head of the fund, says the agency will also help identify sites throughout the country that can be designated as national landmarks that directly reflect local Latino communities.

"We cannot ignore this population any longer," Aponte said. "It’s booming, and so we want to make sure that we recognize this need right now and we engage them and we infuse desire to take ownership of parks and to take ownership of history."

Aponte says the park foundation established a similar program 10 years ago to identify the historical contributions made by African Americans.