A Life (thus far) on Public Lands


Whenever I'm on the road on my way to visit a beautiful natural place to camp and/or fish, I usually play some soothing music to get me in the mood. One of the songs on my playlist is "The Lucky One", by Allison Krauss. I feel like that guy in the song sometimes because, well, I've been lucky, in a lot of ways.

One of the ways I've been lucky is to have lived & worked on the south rim of the Grand Canyon in 1976 and 1977. This pic shown was a short walk from my cabin that I could see every day. President Teddy Roosevelt first saw it back in the early 1900's and was so impressed by its grandeur he made it the first national park in Arizona, thus creating its Public Lands. Thanks, Teddy.

Three years later: having met my wife, Jill at work on the rim and then getting married, we backpacked down the steep, isolated Hermit's Trail to the bottom. Lucky us; again on Public Lands. A couple years later, our son was born and soon after, we took him camping, (diapers and all)--in southern Utah, on Public Lands. We discovered the Eastern Sierras, and campsites on the west slope of Mammoth Mountain by Devil's Postpile National Monument, intersected by the Pacific Coast Trail and surrounded by the amazing Inyo National Forest, headwaters of the San Joaquin River.  All Public Lands.My daughter backpacked 110 miles over 10 days of the John Muir Trail/PCT 2 years ago. Lucky girl!

My family and myself have spent hundreds of glorious days outside over the years and a majority of those on these Public Lands. We have felt very lucky in the U.S. to have such a bounty of these places to camp, hike, fish, read, write, snap pictures and spend family or best-buddy times together. As a volunteer TU leader, I am proud to have participated in several restoration projects on Public Lands' threatened fisheries.

Now, however, a dark shadow is creeping in with this new president and administration, like a bad tule fog.

If they truly mean to strip away protections and regulations safeguarding our new national monuments as well as our exisiting ones, transfer these lands to states for sale to the highest bidder, open them up to the extraction industries, then we concerned citizens are not going to just "see what happens". We are going to exercise our civil liberties to the fullest; call our elected officials repeatedly, join climate-change movements/organizations, write op-ed letters and partipate in tightly focused resistance marches in a way to gain as much support as we can. TU can--and should-- be a catalyst for this campaign.

For the sake of all of us and our future generations, wish us luck.



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