The future of our wild and open spaces

 In Conservation

This is part 2 in a series that explores what we gain from living lives of adventure and pushing our comfort zones in the wilderness. My long-distance hikes on the John Muir Trail in California’s High Sierra over the last two summers inspired me to share the experiences with the Women’s Environmental Network community during a talk at the San Francisco Department of the Environment in October 2016. I will continue to explore the themes from that talk in this blog series.

Yesterday was a tough day. To get through it, I reflected back on my time this last summer when I was immersed in the natural wonders of California’s “Range of Light” — where transcendent moments gave me new perspectives on the world and humanity. Those indelible memories keep me going.

In the wake of the 2016 election, we need to prepare for potential challenges to forward-thinking environmental policies that protect our wildlife, forests, rivers and oceans and the health of the planet. We need to build a stronger constituency and train more leaders in the movement to protect and expand wild and open spaces.

How do we build a stronger constituency? We need to share our stories with more people and we need more people of all colors, generations and backgrounds to discover and experience, first-hand, the beauty and benefits of our public lands. We know that adventure and discovery lead to action, and people protect the places they love.

The Benefits of Wilderness Immersion

“I went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out until sundown, for going out I found I was really going in.”
– John Muir

What are the benefits of our wildlands? Why should we care?

If you are like me, once you experience the benefits of wilderness immersion, you will find yourself setting more goals in your quest to experiment with what is possible. Here are a few of the common benefits backcountry hikers experience.

Five benefits of wilderness immersion

  1. Wilderness immersion and long-distance hiking bring out the best of the human spirit.
  2. The grandeur of wilderness will give you a new perspective on what is important in life.
  3. By immersing yourself in the wilderness you will feel freedom, peace and a connection to the earth’s rhythms like you have never felt before.
  4. By accepting vulnerability you can push your comfort zone and learn that you are more capable than you thought.
  5. Multiple scientific studies show that nature immersion can lead to greater creativity, make us physically and mentally more healthy, decrease stress, relieve attention fatigue, increase happiness, and improve creative problem-solving.

Please join me in the conversation.

Mount Lyell (highest point, right of center, on the skyline)
WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux