“The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased; and not impaired in value.” Theodore Roosevelt
Our National Park System - Cathedrals that Form the Perfect Setting for Rites of Passage
Much has been in the news lately regarding the potential redistribution of management of public lands. While I no longer spend my mental energy in the political realm, it is an issue of which I am very passionate.
Though officially established by congressional order after his presidency, it was Teddy Roosevelt who laid the initial foundation and groundwork for what would become our National Park System. Called “The Patron Saint of Manliness” by our friends at The Art of Manliness, Roosevelt embodied the mantra of living the Untamed life. Not surprisingly, he foresaw the importance of preserving these same environs for others to do the same.
In many of the Western states, where the majority of the land is designated for public use, residents and non-residents alike are able to hunt, fish, hike and climb for a fraction of the cost were it to occur on private land. Our National Parks are home to several of the highest peaks in the Western Hemisphere - proving grounds for future climbers and alpinists to develop their requisite skills for the price of a movie ticket. This accessibility allows us to usher in future generations of outdoorsmen and women, ensuring the sustainability of our natural world.
Our National Parks provide an excellent springboard for self improvement through the process of personal challenge. They have been instrumental to my growth as an friend, individual, and husband.
After our high school graduation, my best friend and I packed up his Explorer with ramen noodles and sleeping bags and drove 15 hours to climb the tallest mountain in Colorado. Why? BECAUSE IT’S THERE! We arrived incredibly unprepared, were washed down the mountain in a monsoon rain and nearly froze, but that experience girded us for anything college might throw our way.
When the idea of Karamojo was still just a dream, I made the decision to climb Mt Rainier via the Kautz Glacier. I fought blisters and lost multiple toenails on the icefall but the confidence I gained from standing at the summit with one of my climbing heroes in 60 mph gusts is what drove Karamojo from dream to reality.
I proposed to the woman who would become my wife from the roof of Texas at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. We climbed through snow, mist and freezing fog to break through the clouds and stand alone together at the top. A refined lady of city upbringing, the sheer natural beauty of that setting affected her beyond words.
I don’t pretend to understand the politics and nuances of managing public lands, but I believe that their existence is vital for those seeking constant challenge, reward and self-improvement within a setting of indescribable beauty. DC