Open for Wilderness

A very common proverb suggest that March “roars in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb.”  This March the lion is still roaring.

A lot has changed in the last month! Unless you are just returning from a long backcountry trip, your life has been impacted by the Corona Virus Pandemic. The cancellation of beloved events, the closure of iconic destinations and the suspension of major league sports has happened very quickly. Schools are closed. Our world of work, school and play are not the same as a week ago. We’re at home now. Public restrictions, reactions and response are evolving very fast. We don’t know what additional changes we face or how long all this will last. Uncertainty creates fear and stress. Finding ways to calm ourselves and our community are vital to our collective mental health.

The Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness number one priority at this time is the health and well-being of our board, staff, volunteers and community. Our public events and activities are on hiatus for at least the rest of March, April and May. It is too soon to tell how June and the summer months that follow will be impacted.

Fortunately, our staff are used to work remotely and can work from home. So, even as the office is quieter than a college library on spring break, we are “open for business” working remotely. We are working with community partners to produce a new podcast series: “Your Wild Place.” And planning towards a hopefully busy summer. Until further notice, please do not come to our offices. There will not be anyone there. Contact one of us direclty. We are here (even though here is at home for now) to help.

Folks are beginning to grapple with “social distancing,” a new concept for many people. The wilderness beckons with potential for solitude. A long, or even short, walk in the woods can do everyone a lot of good right now. As many parks close and travel is restricted, we are fortunate in Idaho and Montana that for the most part we can walk out our doors and find a nice local hike.

Unplug from the news and social media for a few hours. Breathe some fresh air, enjoy the scenery. Tend to your garden. This will lower your stress. Your immune system will thank you. So will your family. Hike at a safe distance from others. Watch what you touch at trailheads. Hike locally to limit the exposure and spread travel might create. Be safe. Our emergency rooms have enough challenges ahead.

If you do find yourself indoors consider spending some time watching a classic books and movies about  nature and wild places. Not sure which ones?  Our weekly insider can help with suggestions. If you are not already a subscriber, you can sign up here. Its fast, safe and its free.

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Categories: Blog
About The Author:

Phil Hough is the Executive Director of the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.

He has hiked the "triple crown": the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest trail (twice). He has also paddled the length of the Yukon river. Phil's love of wilderness guides him as he works to save the incrediblly wild Scotchman Peaks, one of the last and largest roadless places in northern Idaho and western Montana.

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