Sunday, October 31, 2010
Yosemite National Park is about to get a whole lot of publicity. Yes, the Queen of the media, Oprah Winfrey, is dedicating two whole shows to her visit to Yosemite National Park with her bff, Gayle King.
Winfrey noted that African-Americans don’t typically visit national park (than 2 percent of national park visitors) and at the invitation of Yosemite Ranger Shelton Johnson, an African-American who hopes to lure more African-Americans to the parks, decided to use her show to boost African American tourism.
Shelton started with a letter in 2004 asking her to film a show from Yosemite to peak the interest of the African American audience and this month, Oprah surprised Shelton by pulling up in a trailer alongside her longtime friend, Gayle King.
“To get her attention to not only respond to me, she’s responding to what I’m saying. She’s seeing that here we are in one of the most beautiful places in the world and a chunk of our population does not visit places like this and it’s a problem,” said Johnson. “It’s a problem in the sense that all Americans own the national park, but not all Americans are here. And she heard that and wanted to do something.”
Rangers wanted Oprah to have an authentic camping experience, so she made her own campfire, cooked her own meals, mingled with other campers and even paid for her camping spot.
Read more: The Sustainability Ninja