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Dept of Interior Seeks Input to Advance Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through Recreation Opportunities

The Department of Interior (DOI) has opened a federal comment period to gather feedback on the barriers that limit diversity and equity in outdoor recreation, including at ocean beaches. They're also looking for recommendations on how federal land managers can address those barriers to enhance access and outreach.

While all members of the public are welcome and encouraged to submit written comments by the November 18, 2021 deadline, the DOI is also hosting listening sessions “intended for members of underserved communities, including members of racial, ethnic or religious minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, disabled persons, rural Americans, and individuals affected by persistent poverty or inequality” to share their feedback directly.

If you identify as a member of an underserved community and would like to participate by offering spoken comments, please register for today’s DOI virtual listening session, and/or submit written comments on or by November 18, 2021.

To attend today's listening session from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. PT | 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. ET, register here.

The Interior Department is specifically interested in input on the following questions:

  • What are the barriers to visiting public lands and waters managed by DOI (including the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)?
  • How can DOI remove or reduce barriers (e.g., update policies, practices, or programs) that underserved communities and individuals may face when they recreate or attempt to recreate on DOI-managed lands and waters?
  • How can DOI establish and maintain connections to a wider and more diverse set of stakeholders representing underserved communities?
  • What are the best ways to notify and engage underserved stakeholders about recreational opportunities?

If you can’t make it to a live session or are an ally rather than a directly impacted stakeholder, please submit written comments addressing the bullets above, on or before November 18, 2021, to the Federal Register Notice using this link.

This is part of the Biden administration’s America The Beautiful initiative, where the DOI is working to increase access to public lands for underserved communities and ensure all Americans can reap the benefits of the outdoors.

Learn more about the Surfrider Foundation's work in justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI):