I reflected these last few days on how many parks I’ve had the privilege of visiting during my life. Honestly, I’ve lost count which is a good thing. We’re also blessed to live in a state where 8 national parks are located. Denali just may be my favorite one of all!
The question is, do people really see the value in or appreciate this land set aside to preserve our natural treasures? Sadly, I don’t think the vast majority give it a second thought, but they should.
“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.” Edward Abbey
Treasure Wild Places
I follow Paul Nicklen, who’s a well known photographer, marine biologist and conservationist, on Instagram. His photos are some of the most impactful images of nature and wildlife I have ever seen. Much of his focus is on telling the story of the polar regions.
I’m haunted by his recent threads. They document the decline of the arctic manifest by loss of polar bear habitat, and coastal animal deaths (300 otters in Homer, AK alone last year).
This particularly hurts me because it’s so close to home. I wonder…are we really heading as a planet to a time when nothing wild remains? Will life in the oceans die off to a level that cascades into a domino effect on land?
Are our kids destined to see wild animals only in a zoo?
Trust me, I’m not a raging liberal at all. But, doesn’t it make sense to everyone that we really do need to preserve our environment and take care of the one world we have to call home. That’s why the lands set aside as national parks, state parks, monuments, forests and preserves are essential.
We have a moral obligation to look after those who don’t have a voice, be it babies, children, animals or mother nature herself. Decisions made as a society, “progress”, excess waste, pollution in it’s many forms, and an apathetic attitude to what is staring us right in the face are leading us to a place any logical person wouldn’t want to go.
I don’t know where the balance lies. What is caused by man, and what is part of the nature’s cycle. And so the debate rages on.
But I do know that I don’t want to exist in a world where I can’t walk out the door and see a moose, flowers and trees. Or sit for hours watching a pod of beluga whales, absorbing landscapes that take my breath away.
If each person took personal responsibility for their own mess and made an effort to assist on a global level, perhaps we can help our precious natural world.
“A society is defined by not only what it creates, but also by what it refuses to destroy.” John Sawhill
Enjoy Our National Parks
In the USA, and around the world. Visit them frequently. Take your kids and grandkids. Learn about the individual history, unique attributes, wildlife and plants that inhabit the region. Once a respectful appreciation is formed, it’s more likely that one will value and care for what they love.
And I love our national parks! From Everglades, to Arches, Great Smokey Mountains to Katmai, and beyond. Our 58 parks and countless other monuments and preserves are there for us to enjoy responsibly and protect.
Take a moment, a day, or a week and step away from the screen. Engage in nature and keep exploring…never stop. Fall in love with the natural world, and forever change your perspective.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched…They must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller
Happy 100th Birthday NPS, here’s to 100 more!