|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||July 8, 2006|
Laine Hendricks, NPCA, 559-229-9343
Thousands of Fresno Youth Experience National Park Treasures
Record Turnout for Third Annual National Parks Family Day
FRESNO, CA - Nearly 4,000 were introduced to Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks today during the third annual National Parks Family Day. For many, today’s event was their first exposure to Fresno’s neighboring national parks.
"Although three national parks are only a 45 minute drive away from Fresno, many still have never experienced the splendor of Half Dome or Giant Sequoia trees in Yosemite and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park," said NPCA Central Valley Program Manager Laura Whitehouse. "National Parks Family Day bridges this gap."
Fresno County’s Latino community hasn’t traditionally frequented the national treasures of the area’s neighboring national parks. Nearly 50 percent of Fresno County’s population is made up of Latinos, but the face of visitors to the national parks is predominately white America’s. A 2005 survey of visitors to Yosemite National Park indicates that only 8 percent of the visitors to the park are Latino. A similar survey conducted of visitors to Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks in 2002, shows 10 percent of summer visitors are Latinos.
"We are committed to helping the local community appreciate the importance of the national parks for our young people and our local economy," said John Hernandez, CCHCC president.
The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (CCHCC) established National Parks Family Day in 2004 to introduce the Fresno community to the area’s neighboring national parks-Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon-by bringing the wonders of the parks directly to the people. The National Park Service, Yosemite Association, Delaware North Companies, Inc., and Sequoia Natural History Association are also event partners. This year’s sponsors included, Pacific Gas & Electric, Univision Television, Univision Radio, The Fresno Bee, AAA, Prudential Financial, Aetna, H & R Block, and Table Mountain Casino.
"It is a real treat to be able to bring the wonders of the park directly to the community like this, and to watch the faces of the children light up in amazement as you show them the mountain king snake with its beautiful red, black, and cream colored bands and talk to them about the variety of snakes and other animals they can see in Yosemite," said Yosemite National Park Ranger Adrienne Freeman.
The thousands attending National Parks Family Day today met and talked with National Park Service Rangers from nearby Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon national parks and Pinnacles National Monument about clean air in the national parks, culture and history in the parks, and the park’s unique features. Children and families saw live animals-many of those found in the national parks-and enjoyed cultural performances from area dance and music groups.