Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1999


This paper reviews the social science literature on racial and ethnic minority use of the National Park System. Four theoretical perspectives are examined--the marginality hypothesis, subcultural hypothesis, assimilation theory, and the discrimination hypothesis. Each perspective is described, and its strengths and limitations discussed. Research on race, ethnicity, and participation in outdoor recreation is also examined. Studies consistently show that racial and ethnic groups visit national parks and participate in recreation activities at differing rates. The style and pattern of park use also vary among racial and ethnic groups. Social science research on this topic can help park managers serve the diversity of recreation needs, preferences, and styles associated with diverse racial and ethnic groups.


Text found in Social Science Research Review. Vol. 1, No. 2. Spring/Summer 1999.