There are few things more American than wilderness. Wild country is our heritage and our legacy, no matter what kind of background you come from.
From the Native peoples to the European settlers, each culture and class related to the wilderness in their own way. The untamed wild is rooted in our American identity. It’s iconic to the character of the country. And it’s a gift we can give to our children and grandchildren, thanks to the foresight of great Americans who worked to save it. This Independence Day, take a moment to remember their efforts — and the work yet to be done.
Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness volunteers can take pride knowing they’re following in the footsteps of great Americans like Theodore Roosevelt. When they hit the trails as ambassadors or work on education programs, they’re continuing the work he and other Americans advanced from the foundations of the country.
“We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune,” Roosevelt said.
The famously adventurous president believed his experiences in western nature shaped who he was as a man. His love for the wild inspired his efforts to preserve 230 acres of public land and found the U.S. Forest Service.
The next generation of Americans continued Roosevelt’s work by passing the Wilderness Act of 1964. The landmark bill is the basis for the wilderness work thousands across the country do today. And that includes the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.
So take a little pride in your work when you maintain a trail or teach a child how to use a compass. You’re writing the next chapter in a story hundreds of years in the making. Wilderness work is a patriotic tradition. And nothing says freedom like finding your wild place.
Baby Goats photo by Bryan Tollbom.
Painting of Melissa Basin in the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness by Ed Robinson.