Lowey and Jewell agreed a top priority is making parks more appealing to
a diverse population
BEAR MOUNTAIN – Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the National
Park Service, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D, NY17) and US Secretary of the
Interior Sally Jewell joined with historic preservation stakeholders,
Monday afternoon, to share ideas about the future of New York’s
protected, historic areas.
Roundtable participants discussed ways to make parks, and historic areas, more accessible, how to preserve funding for them, as well as how to make them relevant to new generations.
Lowey said she believes a current concern is making sure more residents become involved in parks and historic areas, as well as making those areas more accessible to those living in urban areas.
“I think it’s important that the average person in our community understands the magnificence of our park lands, our monuments, and especially, too many young children in our inner cities don’t have an opportunity, not because their parents don’t want to take them there, but because they’re working so hard they don’t have the opportunity,” said Lowey. “We have to make sure that in all of our schools, in all of our communities, young people can participate in the magnificence of our public land.”
Jewell pointed out that the majority of visitors to these areas are heavily
Caucasian and older. In order to ensure that these areas stay relevant
to a younger visitor population, they are looking to technology in an
effort to bridge that gap, launching the #FindYourPark movement in honor
of the centennial.
“We are all too busy,” said Jewell “Our children have grown up being very scheduled; and so, where do public lands and nature fit in? So, we need to make places relevant to current generations. It means embracing technology, understanding what the barriers are to engaging in places like this, that the rich history that exists here. What is going to make that come alive for our nation’s school children.”
Jewell referenced the popular mobile game, Pokémon Go, where players can adventure around the real world to find virtual characters. She said that is an example of where the future is taking them with regards to public land exploration, and although they may not employ the same concept, that is the technology/nature integration their looking for.