There's a river that flows not far from the house. It's the one that Jacob and I fish most often, mostly due to proximity and easy access. Not all days can be spent on hour long hikes, although I wish that they could be. We've followed this river for years now, trudging from top to bottom, in sun, rain, and snow. I guess it's appropriate to call it our home waters.
We're fond of this place. It's where we did most of our growing as anglers, where we continue to be triumphant and humbled, sometimes both on the same day.
This place is the same forest that I spend most of my afternoons; my solitary time spent running up hills in search of waterfalls. I've come to know the trails; I know what's around every bend, I know where to put my feet, I know which rocks are best for sitting and contemplating. As I said, this is home.
But, home has changed.
In the past few years, I've seen what neglect can do.
A lot is going on right now when it comes to our wild places and their future. We could talk about some of those battles forever, and I do my best to keep informed and so what I can. But today, I have a different challenge for you. Today I urge you to take a look at your home and what you can do to make it better.
Maybe it's carrying a trash bag with you and hauling out a few bottles and granola bar wrappers. Perhaps it's getting involved with a trail maintenance crew. How about putting that water on hold during warm months, or vowing to only fish in the most ethical way possible (which you should be doing all the time anyway). Or, maybe it's reaching out to others in the community when you notice abuse.
There's a lot we can do for our Public Lands right now. While I urge you to defend them and make as many phone calls and sign as many petitions as possible, I also say let's take excellent care of these places, to show that they are essential, we do care, and they are worth saving.
Let's get together on this because none of us want to lose our homes.