Many national parks now require entry fees to be paid via credit or debit card. With access to nature—a costly affair—already a challenge for Latinos, cashless access to national parks represents still another barrier for ubanked Latinos to enjoy the great outdoors. In response to this, Friends of the Inyo is hosting a FREE bilingual outreach event called “Naturaleza, Conectividad y Crédito” (“Nature, Connectivity and Credit”) in Bishop on July 15, as part of Latino Conservation Week. In partnership with AltaOne Federal Credit Union, Naturaleza, Conectividad y Crédito aims to help local Latinos and others apply for credit to facilitate access to national parks and other opportunities to which credit can open the door.

Other event partners include the U.S. National Park Service, Cerro Coso Community College, Whitebark Institute, Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, Farmworker Institute of Education and Leadership Development (FIELD), Mammoth Recycling/Bishop Waste, the Bureau of Land Management, and we welcome other organizations that might want to participate.

The event will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. on the parking lot of AltaOne Federal Credit Union, 462 N. Main Street. It is FREE and open to the public, Latino or not: We want everyone who is unbanked to come and apply for credit with AltaOne!

The event also aims to educate Eastern Sierra Nevada Latinos about how to navigate national park websites for making camping reservations, checking weather and road conditions, etc.; how to recreate responsibly in nature, practicing The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace (; how to strengthen their homes against wildfire; how to recycle trash properly; how to register for classes at Cerro Coso College; how to apply for available local jobs; and more. There will be food, music, opportunity drawings, and lots of networking designed to help Latinos and other underrepresented communities learn how to better enjoy nature and be better stewards of our scenic lands.

Location: 462 N. Main St., Bishop, CA 93514

Questions? Write to Exhibitors welcome. We will accept solicitor applications at this same email address through July 7.

Comments (1)

The CNRA is taking comments on the Outdoors for All Draft Strategy. After recently attending two events where a gentleman handed out the above flyers, I decided to submit the following comment to CNRA –

Thank you CNRA for providing a format for public comment on the Outdoors for All initiative draft strategy.

I live in Mono County an hours drive away from Yosemite National Park and a two hour drive to Death Valley. There has been a recent trend to cashless entrance fees (debit/credit cards only) at National Parks which will disenfranchise unbanked people from visiting. I understand why the parks are following this trend – “. . . in 2022 Death Valley took in $22,000 in cash, but it cost over $40,000 to process that cash. . .” (Elaine Emerson, Fox5, 2023).

In the Outdoors for All initiative draft CNRA under Priority 3: Connect People and the Outdoors CNRA states:
“The state will also ease the processes for gaining entry fees, reservations, permits, . . ”

I am concerned that the trend to go cashless will start showing up at California state parks, if it hasn’t already. Please include language in your draft that will ensure that should California parks decide to go to cashless payment systems, Cash-to-Card kiosks will be located next to payment kiosks which will transfer cash (free of charge) onto a prepaid debit card that can be used anywhere that card is accepted.

Cheers, etc.

I realize that AltaOne is concentrating on providing a solution for our local unbanked population, but perhaps the people organizing Latino Conservation Week would like to explore the possibility of making the above option a requirement at national parks that have gone, or plan to go cashless.

Janet Barth

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