On Friday, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” devoted the full hour to a segment that was taped at Yosemite in response to Mr. Johnson’s appeal. Part 2 of the episode is to be broadcast on Wednesday.
The visitors issue is a pressing one for the National Park Service, which is expanding its efforts to diversify both its guests and its work force as the agency prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2016.
… The Park Service does not log attendance numbers at individual parks by race or ethnicity. But in a comprehensive survey it commissioned in 2000, only 13 percent of black respondents reported visiting a national park in the previous two years. That compared with 27 percent for Latinos, 29 percent for Asians and 36 percent for whites.
Jim Gramann, a visiting social scientist with the Park Service who is overseeing a review of a follow-up survey in 2008 and 2009 that is to be released early next year, said the gap persisted.