Best essay from Thompson Falls — Shawn Sacchi

My sympathy goes out to those that have not had the opportunity to experience the wilderness in its true form. The serene beauty of a placid lake disturbed only by the splash of a trout striking the surface of the water. Two young bucks test their dominance by locking horns and having a playful display of king of the hill. Yet, nature is not all peace and harmony. The Grizzly bear in its powerful stride walks through the forest as the true king of beasts. They feed on berries and grubs but have a taste for flesh. The Grizzly will feed on moose, elk or deer if the opportunity presents itself. As you view nature in its beautiful, pristine setting you have to understand that it must be treated with respect. Animals are in a constant state of survival. They search for their next meal while avoiding the predators that look to them as their next meal.

How different is man really from the beasts of the field after centuries of civilization? Our architects construct great buildings that leave people looking in awe. The painter uses a talent to create a masterpiece for all to admire. Nature’s canvas is the mountains, lakes and creatures of the forest. Two boys fight in a school yard that to show dominance just like the young bucks. As one grows older and enters the workplace it becomes survival of the fittest. Just as the animals are in a constant state of survival, so are most adults in their workplaces. If you make a mistake and are not careful, there is someone right behind you looking to get your job or use the mistake to benefit them.

The challenge in life is to live in harmony with your environment. In the forest you can learn to enjoy all that it offers and yet treat it with respect for your own safety. This mirrors the civilized world. In an urban setting with a job and family, a balance of all things must be found.

If not, you run the risk of falling prey to your surroundings. If your walk in life is an opportunity to appreciate all the things around you, peace will be found. The stress and fears in life will be minimized as you build confidence in your own little forest. You will be like the Grizzly Bear; unafraid of what is lurking behind each and every tree, yet cautious not to let your guard down when you are vulnerable. In conclusion, my experience in the wilderness has taught me an appreciation for my journey in life, for things visible and hidden.

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Categories: Blog
About The Author:

Sandy Compton has been program coordinator for Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness since 2009. He is also a storyteller and author of both fiction and non-fiction books, and the publisher at

In addition to his other duties, he runs the FSPW All Star Trail Team (, which works on Forest Service trails in the Scotchman Peaks. He is a trail surveyor as well, and a C-Certified Crosscut Bucker/Feller and USFS National Saw Policy OHLEC instructor.

Sandy grew up on a small farm/woodlot at the south end of the proposed wilderness and lives there still. He is also board member of the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and a planning team member for the Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute.

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