The Road Taken

The parks do not belong to one state or to one section…. The Yosemite, the Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon are national properties in which every citizen has a vested interest; they belong as much to the man of Massachusetts, of Michigan, of Florida, as they do to the people of California, of Wyoming, and of Arizona.”

“Who will gainsay that the parks contain the highest potentialities of national pride, national contentment, and national health? A visit inspires love of country; begets contentment; engenders pride of possession; contains the antidote for national restlessness…. He is a better citizen with a keener appreciation of the privilege of living here who has toured the national parks. Stephen T. Mather, NPS Director, 1917-1929 

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On March 2nd, 1899 President William McKinley signed legislation creating Mount Rainier National Park.  This week marks the 118th birthday of our fifth National Park and though I’m fortunate enough to see the lovely mountain almost every day from a car this photo was taken during my first visit inside the park in 2008.

Some my happiest days have been spent in our National Parks but while most of us have grown up with an awareness of the National Park Service we can’t take its existence for granted.  The political road our country has taken is placing these pristine treasures directly in harm’s way with a new bill introduced in Congress that encourages drilling in National Parks as well as orders to roll back the Waters of the U.S. rule protecting wetlands and headwaters and effecting 60% of the water bodies in our country.  Combined with dramatic budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, relaxing limits on greenhouse gas emissions and lifting the moratorium on federal coal leasing across 570 million publicly owned acres means the direction of our land management and the health of  our natural public treasures will be forever changed.

I’ve been posting a series of my favorite National Park photos on the NW Frame of Mind Instagram account and on my personal Twitter account using the hashtags #ProtectOurParks and #NationalParks. If you’d like to see more Parks photos please feel free to follow along and then post yours on your favorite social media platform.  Let me know if you do so I can see and share your work!  Together we can make a difference.

The American way of life consists of something that goes greatly beyond the mere obtaining of the necessities of existence. If it means anything, it means that America presents to its citizens an opportunity to grow mentally and spiritually, as well as physically. The National Park System and the work of the National Park Service constitute one of the Federal Government’s important contributions to that opportunity. Together they make it possible for all Americans–millions of them at first-hand–to enjoy unspoiled the great scenic places of the Nation…. The National Park System also provides, through areas that are significant in history and prehistory, a physical as well as spiritual linking of present-day Americans with the past of their country.  Newton B. Drury, NPS Director, 1940-1951

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  The Road Taken.

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24 thoughts on “The Road Taken

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I didn’t expect to post this message for the weekly challenge but once I found my old photo and saw the anniversary it all came together. I knew it was something I needed to write.

  1. Mt. Rainier National Park was my introduction to the park system when I moved to Washington at age 8. Our government is taking a dangerous and frightening stance on the environment. Who would have anticipated that even our national parks would be threatened? See you at the March for Science? 🙂

    1. I never thought so many changes would hit us so quickly but here we are… As for the science march we’ll be there, D’Arcy! Ryan’s 16th birthday is the day after and when we asked what he wanted to do for his big weekend he told us “The Science March!” What a kid. 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Road Taken: New Office | What's (in) the picture?

  3. Good work, and a great young man you have! He is, together with the rest of our youg – the Future. And he already seems to know that there is much work to do. Good luck with everything. We will read everything and keep updated about the March. People like you make my heart soar and the hope alive!

    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement and support. Watching the rising levels of engagement in our next generation of voters has definitely given me hope that there will be an abrubt end to some of this madness. 2018 is coming soon and these young teens will be voting in their first big elections.,, We’ll continue fighting and doing our best to keep all of our hopes alive!

  4. Hard to believe that ‘that man’ has only been in office a month. I cringe to think of the damage he can cause not only the US but all around the world in four years. Hopefully there are people like you and Ryan who can make a difference. Lovely photo!

    1. I know we’re not alone in thinking this one month has felt like years. 😦 We are so sorry this is taking such a toll around the world and all I can say is that there are millions of us here doing our best to end/mitigate the reckless damage from this end. Glad you like the photo. 🙂

    1. You’re right, Bob the list of important battles is near overwhelming when seen as a whole. It’s hard to settle on priorities when they all represent life or death to someone but we’re working to make our voices heard every single day. Fighting for entities who can’t speak (like the land and parks) is one thing I can tackle here with posts and images and then we follow up with donations, meetings and phone calls supporting social issues that also need our engagement.

  5. Our parks are a treasure for ‘We The PEOPLE’ to be cared for and passed on to our children, their children, their grandchildren.

    Back in the Reagan era there was great pressure to ‘justify our parks system’, make their very existence pay for itself as in if a park wasn’t bringing in money it should be closed and sold to someone who could bring in money using the park correctly. The coming onslaught will be far worse.

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