KUSA - The National Park Service is hosting Latino Conservation Week in an effort to diversity the visitors who travel to the parks, national monuments and heritage sites across the country.
In Colorado, there are 13 different locations managed by the National Park Service that attracted close to 7.4 million visitors last year.
The fourth annual event kicks off July 15 and runs until July 23. The nine-day event is designed to break down barriers and inspire the next generation of enviromental stewards. Latino Conservation Week is a partnership of the National Park Service, Hispanic Access Foundation and the National Park Foundation.
According to the Outdoor Foundation, only 8 percent of Latinos engaged in outdoor recreation in 2015. "These are you public lands.
Regardless of who you are, where you come from, these lands belong to you," said Vanessa Lacayo, spokesperson for the National Park Service. "I think it's important for the public to get out there and celebrate. These are our public lands as a collective space. They're not for a specific group and we want to make sure we celebrate the diversity," she said.
Some of the week's events include outings, volunteer cleanups, educational events and film screenings. Events are currently scheduled in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. A full list of confirmed events is available here. "It's important that we really celebrate and welcome all visitors," Lacayo said.