News Coverage

17 July 2016

PUBLIC NEWS SERVICE: Latino Conservation Week Highlights Importance of South Dakota's Protected Lands

Category: News Coverage

PIERRE, S.D. -- This week marks the third annual Latino Conservation Week, and organizers are shining a spotlight on the Latino community's concern for preserving South Dakota's natural resources. 

Several groups, including the National Park Service, encouraged Latinos to go camping and hiking and to engage in other outdoor activities as part of the week-long push. Maite Arce, president of the Hispanic Access Foundation, said the event also celebrates the Latino community's role in preserving and protecting public lands in many ways, including site visits and clean-up efforts.

"We know of Latino families who are making the drive from Denver to visit some of these parks, Mount Rushmore being one of them,” Arce said. "And so, they're making the trek just like all other Americans do out of appreciation."

The call to enjoy public lands comes as Republican leaders gather at their National Convention in Cleveland to discuss a proposed party platform which includes a call to remove some public areas - including national parks - from federal protection.

With more than 50 million people, the Latino community is the largest minority group in the U.S., and the number of Hispanic people living in South Dakota has grown to more than 30,000. With so many Latinos now living in the state, Arce argued, they can help play a role in local conservation efforts.

"By Latino voters there is concern about making sure our natural resources are preserved long into the future,” she said. "So, really thinking about tomorrow and protecting those lands from development and other threats."

Over the past three years, Latino Conservation Week has grown from 17 events in just a handful of states to more than 100 events across the country. 

A full list of events is available at

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