As I was going through my paperwork of charitable organizations, I noticed that I had grouped them together by category. I was sort of going through the paperwork in order, but then I realized that it may end up looking like: "January's diseases", "February's environmental causes", "March's armed services". And that just seemed too tacky for words! So now I just mixed all the paperwork together in no particular order. It's absolute madness in an accordion file!
Anyway, now that the categories have been obliterated, I can feel free to talk about something that is close to my heart: Our National Parks.
I truly feel lucky to live here, where we have such wonderful natural diversity in our landscape and such a great National Park System. The National Park System was created in 1872 to preserve out natural and cultural heritage, setting aside millions of acres of land to preserve and protect some of our most valuable and --may I say -- magical land. Unfortunately, our park system is subject to political volleying with many urging opening the parks to "land development" projects such as logging, mining, and, of course, the famous Alaska oil pipeline.
Additionally, the parks themselves operate with significant budget deficits, leaving maintenance of roads, shelters, and trails insufficient. Parks have needed to cut back on rangers and other staff, putting visitors at greater risk of injury when visiting parks. And in many parks, local pressure has led to allowing ATVs, snowmobiles, and power boats in the very places created to protect against these vehicles.
Some of my most fond memories in my travels have been of hiking and camping in Olympia National Park in Washington, Yosemite National Park, and King's Canyon Park (pictured above).
I am always in awe of these magical places; and in awe of the thought that this is public land: I OWN this place! You OWN this place! We all collectively own these places. They belong to us and as such, I truly feel it is our duty to protect these places from disrepair, abuse, and mismanagement. (I've often wrote in this blog how I can't understand how obsessed people become about their lawns. But I can totally understand and obsession about their public land)
So this week's charity is the National Parks Conservation Association, which serves as a watchdog group to monitor the parks and ensure preservation, protection, and adequate funding.
To learn more about National Parks (and to find one in your area to visit -- please make that one of your goals for this year!) go here.
And to learn more about the NPCA go here
Now go outside this weekend!