Indiana Launches $17.5k Black Inclusivity Training For State Park Workers
Devil's Slide at Indiana Dunes State Park. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The state of Indiana has launched a $17,500 Black inclusivity training for its state park workers.

The three-section interactive training, run by Black Folks Camp Too (BFCT), aims to educate state park staffers on how to guide people of color through state park camping and other activities. Dan Bortner, director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), said in a press release that improving the racial diversity of state park-goers would advance IDNR’s mission to “protect, enhance, preserve, and widely use” state resources. 

“By actively welcoming more people who may have historically spent less time outdoors, we look forward to furthering our important mission now and for generations to come,” said Bortner.

Indiana entered into the $17,500 contract with BFCT in April of this year. BFCT has partnered with the state parks of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Oregon to offer diversity expertise as well. North Carolina paid BFCT $26,800. Oregon paid BFCT $2,000 for a keynote speech in October.

The training will review a history of outdoor recreational barriers that prevented communities of color from participation, as well as exploring and identifying biases regarding outdoors access for communities of color. 

BFCT was founded in 2019 by Earl B. Hunter, Jr., who currently serves as president over the business. In a 2021 feature on BFCT, Hunter told ABC11 that he started BFCT because Black people have a historical fear of the outdoors due to lynchings.

“We’re talking about historical fears. You’re talking about some of the things that have happened in the woods, some of the lynchings and things of that nature,” said Hunter. “And when you have that generational fear, that’s being really driven down to you, as a young person you don’t even think about wanting to go in the outdoors.”

On its website, BFCT claims that Black individuals will continue to be afraid of all things related to the outdoors — camping, the woods, and even nature — until they have a positive experience with it. 

“Many folks, specifically Black folks, have generational fears of camping, the woods, and the outdoors. This comes from the fact that the woods were an unsafe place for many Black folks for hundreds of years in America,” stated BFCT. “Many Black folks are and will continue to feel this way UNTIL they have a positive experience that changes their thoughts.”


The training focuses on increasing the “Return On Inclusion,” or “ROI,” in Indiana state parks. ROI seeks an increase in the diversity of state park visitors.

IDNR announced last week that its properties would also bear a campfire symbol, “Unity Blaze,” to signal completion of the BFCT training and their racial inclusivity. 

“The Unity Blaze represents the unity that comes from our shared love for the outdoors, and reminds us that everyone is welcome,” said IDNR in a promotional video. 


The state will also have to assist in the development of the training course. According to the contract, the state must contribute to the content creation for the training videos — photos, logos, videos, and messaging — as well as offer input on the course outline, concepts, and design.

149 locations qualify as certified partners of BFCT. Over 1,300 IDNR employees have completed the program. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Indiana Launches $17.5k Black Inclusivity Training For State Park Workers