I have lived in both urban areas and at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) wilderness. I am a life long camper and a lover of the wild spaces which need our protection. (More)

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One of the horrible and under reported parts of the Republican agenda is to privatize our public lands or to allow mining and drilling and fracking on public lands. Outdoor recreational companies are mobilizing their customer bases to combat privatization:

CORTEZ, Colo. – Two generations ago, they were often written off as a bunch of hippies making backpacks and climbing gear for niche markets. But in recent decades, companies such as Patagonia and REI have become consumer powerhouses and political players, increasingly eager to influence decisions over public lands.

A sign of that clout came this year, when the outdoor industry decided to pull its twice-yearly trade show from Salt Lake City, where it been based since 1996. The shows injected tens of millions of dollars into the Utah economy, but industry leaders decided to pull out after Gov. Gary Herbert and other Utah Republicans started lobbying President Donald Trump to roll back the Bears Ears National Monument, a 1.35-million-acre conservation area in southern Utah that American Indians and environmentalists have championed for years.

Full disclosure, I have been an R.E.I. member since the early 1970s. I have been to the BWCA every year since I first went in 1962 as a junior in high school. I have taken my sons and my oldest three grandchildren canoeing and camping there. The wilderness can teach us lessons that cities cannot. It can connect us with our insignificance in the grand scheme of things in ways that city life cannot. It can give us viions of the northern lights and the sounds of howling wolves. We can pick wild blueberries and eat freshly caught walleye or small mouth bass. The stories we tell around a campfire are a way of reminding us of who we are and where we came from. It may be a blessing that cell phones are unreliable.

The wilderness is a powerful spiritual reminder of our relationship to nature. We need to protect our wild spaces. Please call your senators and representative with the information at this link.

Tell them you want public lands protected.

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