We thought we’d already been over this. Way back in 2016, we learned that National Parks were not inclusive spaces. The Centennial Initiative suggested a redesign of all national parks to remove intimidating imagery, such as the vehicles driven by and uniforms worn by park rangers, both of which “have law enforcement connotations” and therefore “present a significant impediment to engaging all Americans.”

In 2020, ABC News reported that America’s national parks “face an existential crisis over race” and remain “stubbornly white,” with 77 percent of visitors being white. Advocates said they hoped George Floyd’s death in police custody would bring attention to systemic racism in the outdoors. A month later, the Los Angeles Times determined that camping was racist. Camping equipment is so expensive that only whites can afford it apparently.

It sounds as though white nationalists have already taken over nature, but VICE News is reporting that white nationalists want to reclaim nature as a safe space for racists.

Tess Owen reports:

At first glance, it may seem out of character: Wholesome activities like hiking, foraging for berries, and camping seemingly stand in sharp contrast to lifestyles of the basement-dwelling, far-right livestreamers.

On one recent weekend, a number of young far-right extremists went camping in upstate New York. This “retreat” was the latest in a national event series that aims to foster real-world relationships within the very online, youth-oriented Christian nationalist movement—and with the land they vow to defend against anything they deem un-American and un-Christian, be it immigration, critical race theory, or transgender rights.

While this may be a relatively new phenomenon within the modern far-right, white supremacy has deep roots in the U.S. wilderness and recreation movement, which long excluded people of color from its national parks and green spaces. And that history has made America’s national parks attractive destinations for white-rights activists trying to stake their claim to the land.

President Barack Obama was supposed to have fixed the national parks by toning down the uniforms and vehicles.

Remember the freak-out when President Trump held his Independence Day fireworks at Mount Rushmore? A tribal leader said Mount Rushmore shouldn’t be blown up, but only because of the environmental damage. There must be some other way to remove the sculptures.


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