Yosemite seeks a more diverse visitor base

LA Times - Hale said she'd always viewed Yosemite as "a country club for white folks."

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

From LA Times:

Only about 1% of the nearly 4 million people who visit the national park each year are black, and the park system remains largely the province of whites. So officials were elated earlier this month when two groups of African Americans were touring Yosemite the same day.

Among them was former Los Angeles schoolteacher Marian Howell, 92, who was not about to let a recent knee injury get in the way of a trip to Yosemite. Tapping the ground with her cane beneath towering El Capitan, Howell said, “This is as close to heaven as we’re likely to get in this life.”

Hale said she’d always viewed Yosemite as “a country club for white folks.” Sure, it looked majestic in photographs, she said, “but I never felt that I fit into Yosemite’s design. I never saw people who looked like me.”

Throughout the day, the group drew friendly smiles, stares and a few glares when they showed up at tourist stops such as Tunnel View, Bridalveil Fall and the Ahwahnee Hotel, where they had lunch after the tram tour.

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