I urge you to find hope in small, daily ways. Put something on your calendar this week that exists just for you. Get out the map and plan a national park hike or visit one of the hundreds of national park historic sites in the next month if possible. Hope weaves into our stress resiliency by lifting our spirits in hectic times. Do not wait for it to show up. Build it up in meaningful ways and support others’ hopes whenever possible.
Our NPS sites hold, clarify, and remind us of our American legacy—the good, bad and ugly. They hopefully remind us to nurture our better angels, to learn from history, and protect what little we have left.
Things change. That’s always going to be the case, and as our interests in our national parks grows, so will our needs to maintain and care for them.
As teachers and families have had to alter and adjust their manners of attending school, national parks have had to adjust their means of educating families. In a time of crisis, as we all adapt, it has been apparent that the National Park Service is working overtime to provide opportunities that sustain some normalcy in our “new normal.”
So, you’ve booked your next trip to a national park, and you want to make sure you get the full experience, right? We owe it to ourselves, and to these incredible lands, to make our visits count. Each visit is an opportunity to educate, inspire, and support our holistic well-being.
When we think of conservation, a word that easily comes to mind is “ecosystem,” and what is an ecosystem but a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. Every word of this definition is loaded with proof that the human species is an ecosystem! And it is out of balance, but not all is lost; there is still hope.
We should be elated and driven knowing this is the year YOU can do something about it. We have the opportunity to make national parks and our public lands part of the important and larger conversation of equality and conservation.
Within each of the (now) 419 units, there is a story, an ecology, a natural existence that we do not often see with the naked eye. When one steps back and looks at the park experience, it is easy to forget that there is something grander than towering cliffs, glowing night skies banded with the Milky Way, lapping blue bioluminescent waves, and a primal desire to explore. There is an education to be had.
Being a minimalist out of part desire and part necessity is not the same as conservation. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely helps. Conservation, though, is about so much more. Not only is it about preventing the wasteful use of our natural resources, but it’s about preserving them, and protecting our animals and lands, too.