The following is a statement from Camilla Simon, Director of Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO), on Hispanic Heritage Month.
"This year’s Hispanic Heritage Month comes during an historic time for the Latino community and for the future of public lands in our country. This is a time when decisions that will affect the next century of public lands conservation, restoration and management, are taking place within federal government agencies that manage public lands such as the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service. The voices, perspectives, and input of the Hispanic community needs to play an integral role in these decisions.
The Latino community needs to be represented in conversations, forums, and formal consultations that are helping shape the next 100 years of our public lands. Our communities’ heritage, inter-generational wisdom, values and practices should be incorporated into the vision and implementation of public lands management plans.
Latinos need to feel welcomed in parks, forests, natural reserves and other public green spaces, but we also need to make sure that our community is represented when decisions are being made. It’s not enough to complain or point out the lack of diversity on public lands, we need to act and be part of the solution."