Hispanics And Texas State Parks, Part Two (The Weird Part)

We asked Texas Parks & Wildlife for more details on the customer survey we wrote about today, and they have come through. And it's crazy enough to deserve its own post.

TPWD provided a power point presentation of the study; scrolling through it we noticed a summary of focus-group research done on Hispanics.

The focus groups consisted of current park visitors born in the U.S. (who "watch at least 5 hrs/week of Spanish-language TV"), current visitors from Mexico (a 10-hour Spanish-TV minimum), and Hispanics born in the U.S. who do not visit Texas state parks.

We'll just post some highlights:

"The maximum number of people per campsite rule was among the most criticized, misunderstood and disliked." (Sample quote from the focus group: "We're big families...otherwise, we get separated...we need bigger areas.")

Sounds reasonable, although we can imagine the stereotypes already revving up.

Then, it got weird.

Another slide read:

-- In general, Hispanics didn't perceive littering to be a significant problem, with the exception of the restrooms and around trash receptacles

-- Many felt that since they were paying to enter the parks, it was the parks' responsibility to keep them maintained

-- Hispanics didn't perceive themselves to be the cause of the problem, and some felt they were unfairly blamed

Lot to work with there, if you like to spark culture wars.

Not to worry, though. Another slide noted "Hispanics offer suggestions" for "Litter Abatement":

-- Encourage people to flush instead of using trash receptacle

-- Consider increasing frequency of cleaning bathrooms

-- Consider posting bathroom cleaning schedule

-- Develop a trash clean-up hour where participants can receive a discount voucher for future park visit or other benefit

All good ideas. Especially that first one. We're not sure what it means, but it certainly sounds like a good idea. (See comments for explanations!!)

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly