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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Staff Thoughts: The Spaces In-between

Posted by Drew Collins

Up until a few years ago, living in Washington did not make much of a difference for me. I guess the weather is cloudier here, but I’m used to it and do not know much else – I’ve lived in the Seattle area all my life. With the introduction of hiking trails and thus wilderness into my perspective, I see where I live as so much more, and I’m so glad to be here.

As a kid, when I’d look on a map, I’d see the long twisting, barren stretches of roadway and know that those were the ways to get through the mountains. You’d drive up a valley surrounded by high ridges and peaks and then go down. But as I learned while hiking, some of the most scenic areas in our state are the places in-between the markings on a map. Those gaps are huge, and their value is immeasurable.

In the last few years, hiking and backpacking has evolved to my favorite hobby. Exploring those places in-between the quick, fast-paced, auto access of mountain passes is exciting, breathtaking and calming. I’m seeing these huge expanses of land through my own eyes, and filling in the map with my own experiences.

I think a lot of young people today do not realize how much wild land there is out there, and few ever get to access it, much less get a half mile away from a car. Designating this wild land as wilderness is important to protect these areas because generations to come will realize the value and experience these spaces which we mark today as valuable assets, are close to our hearts.

Drew joined WWC in July of 2009 to provide telephone outreach to its members. He is a student at the University of Washington planning to double major in Community, Environment, and Planning (CEP) and Environmental Studies. Drew hopes to learn more about wilderness protection and environmental policy in Washington State. He has lived in the Seattle area all of his life, and enjoys being outside hiking, backpacking and snowshoeing with friends.

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