Bridging the Gap Between Urban and Rural: The North Coast and Cascades Network
Many of our nation's more rural parks are already taking steps to build meaningful connections to urban populations. The city of Seattle represents an ideal entry point to an array of NPS parks and programs. This metropolitan area is surrounded by eight national parks, all within two to four hours of the city. These national parks are invaluable interfaces between urban and rural. Many Seattle youth are aware of the existence of Mount Rainier because they can see it from the city, but few knew it is part of a national park or had ever visited any national parks in the Pacific Northwest. A recent project initiated by the North Coast and Cascades Network (NCCN), a network that includes the eight national parks surrounding Seattle, looks at how these national parks can reach audiences in the Seattle metro area. The project sought to enhance connections between urban youth and national parks and looked to urban youth organizations as potential connectors between youth and the more rural national parks. To determine effective ways to build these connections, the project identified youth organizations that would benefit from programs offered by the region's national parks. Organizations like the YMCA, nonprofits, and parks and recreation community centers represent valuable partners for the NPS to work side by side as they built a ladder of engagement with urban youth.
Read the full report here: Seattle Youth and their National Parks-Making Connections