Backyard Wilderness – Happy New Year!

Abby leads Marla down a trail at White Ranch Park

“Let me say something on the subject of the kinds of wilderness worth preserving. Most of those areas contemplated are in the national forests and in high mountain country. For all the usual recreational purposes, the alpine and the forest wildernesses are obviously the most important, both as genetic banks and as beauty spots. But for the spiritual renewal, the recognition of identity, the birth of awe, other kinds will serve every bit as well. “ Wallace Stegner in The Wilderness Letter

I think about wilderness all the time. What is wilderness? Why do we need wilderness? What is wilderness worth? So, when we set out on a local hike five miles from home today, I wasn’t expecting anything special; just a cold snow hike, maybe a little heavy breathing on the hills. There was no one in the parking lot, trails empty and untracked, an urban interface wilderness just for us. We traversed the hillside above Mcmansions and overlooking all of Denver, 4 million people out there. Abby ran free, Marla and I walked free – free to let our minds wander, free of phones and noise and the burden of a scheduled life. For all of its thousands of annual visits, White Ranch was our private wilderness for one magic hike.

Happy New Year! Go find wilderness.

Ralston Ridge, White Ranch Park, Jefferson County, CO

2 thoughts on “Backyard Wilderness – Happy New Year!

  1. Hello Dave, Marla and “Abby” excuse my ignorance, inexperience and complete lack of “wilderness” knowledge…I have enjoyed reading the articles and viewing your pictures. Louise and I are lucky to have such “passionate friends” and will truly pay more attention to the many ways of preserving – all this natural beauty ! Keep up the great work – maybe I could volunteer my services and give back to Colorado or the Earth. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Jay for your thoughtful comment. Wouldn’t it be great if many more people asked how they could help to preserve our environment?! You could certainly volunteer at a local park or refuge – Rocky Mountain Arsenal wouldn’t be able to run very many public programs without volunteers. Roxborough, closer to home for you, would probably welcome an offer to volunteer. Outreach is such an important part of advancing conservation – bringing awareness to more people. Local conservation groups, like the Denver Audubon Society, are very active in the community, combing activism, outreach, and education. And we owe it to ourselves to be knowledgeable of Western conservation issues to hold our elected officials accountable. My mission is to combine imagery with activism to raise awareness and conserve important places in the West. I’ll be happy to talk to you about all of these things anytime.

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