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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Let's Give BIG to Save Wild Places!

Ruth Creek Valley, Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

I remember the first time that a wild place got to me.

During the first week of my stint as an intern in a National Park, I was given the chance to go on my first backpacking trip to one of the highest peaks in the park. After dousing myself with ¾ of a bottle of bug repellant and overpacking my borrowed backpack to the brim with “necessities,” I was ready to go.

I was afraid of the dark, afraid of ticks, and afraid of the quiet – at first. As my calves burned with each passing mile, the elevation grew higher and the views, more brilliant. I was overcome with the sheer wildness of the terrain – a striking contrast to my suburban upbringing. This experience with wilderness brought forth a sense of awe, a sense of wonder, and an overwhelming respect for the power and majesty of these untouched places.  By the next morning, my face was glowing and I was raring to get back on the trail, back into the wild. My coworkers, far more seasoned backpackers and seasonal park rangers, looked at each other knowingly, nodding.

“Well…we’ve got her,” one remarked.

Have Washington’s wild lands and waters ‘got’ to you yet?

I feel fortunate every day that my work at Washington Wild allows me to reach out to others about their love for wild places in Washington. What an amazing state we live in, here in Washington: emerald green moss and fern-laden paths, quiet with flora and dappled light; cathedral-like old-growth trees swaying quietly in an ocean breeze; jagged, remote alpine peaks standing stalwart above rushing rivers, laden with salmon. Whether the North Cascades’ majesty, the Olympic Peninsula’s grandeur, eastern Washington’s rolling hills, or the rugged volcanoes and rivers of southwest Washington, we’ve certainly got it all.

Today, May 2nd, you have a unique chance to make your donation for Washington Wild’s work to protect these incredible remaining wild places go even further. By giving online through the Seattle Foundation’s Give BIG Challenge, your gift will be proportionally matched by the Foundation and generous local sponsors. Never given a gift? Now is the time. Help us to ensure that these wild lands and waters will be around for future generations of wilderness seekers. Give BIG today!

As Wallace Stegner once put it:
“We need wilderness preserved – as much of it as is still left, and as many kinds – because it was the challenge against which our character as a people was formed… It is good for us when we are young, because of the incomparable sanity it can bring briefly, as vacation and rest, into our insane lives.  It is important to us when we are old simply because it is there – important, that is, simply as idea.

Kimberly Adank is Washington Wild’s membership & development director. When she’s not fundraising for wild places, she’s out exploring them via hiking boots or snowshoe. Until hiking season begins, she can be found wandering the lowlands with her faithful companion, 10-year old Lab/Chesapeake, Moose. Interested in learning more about membership with Washington Wild? Contact Kimberly at kim@wawild.org

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