I have been a regular hiker in state and national forests and other wilderness areas for the better part of my life. After reading Paul Fish’s Dec. 1 guest opinion (“Keep backcountry roadless area protections across the West”) that so clearly and succinctly supports the continuing need for roadless area protection for the forest areas that still fortunately lack roads, I have, over the past few days had to think deeply about why I feel strongly that such protection must be bedrock policy.
For me it’s not that natural areas simply offer recreational opportunities but that, in a spiritual sense, these vast areas are foundational to my sense of well-being. I know for many people and for me certainly, knowing that these great regions exist and are protected makes me feel that life on this tiny planet is sustainable. Were I never to climb again in a wilderness area nor even view one through a car window, I would feel the same. Sometimes you just have to remind yourself, without qualification, that the intangibles in life give it its true sustenance and true meaning.