This post comes from Cotopaxi VP of Product CJ Whittaker. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views of the Cotopaxi brand.
There’s nothing quite like roaming the backcountry in uninterrupted solitude. It’s an experience that restores energy and calm to my life. It soothes my soul. What I gain from spending time in the wilderness is something I can’t gain from any other source. Only immersive wilderness experiences bring the peace I crave, and this is why I believe wilderness lands are worth preserving.
Wilderness is the highest level of protection federal lands can receive. Some of our nation’s most beautiful places are designated as wilderness! These lands belong to every citizen in the United States, and our taxes go toward their support. When federal lands are designated as wilderness, it not only benefits outdoor enthusiasts, but it also helps local economies that rely on tourism for business. It’s a win-win situation.
Unfortunately, some of my favorite places are currently being threatened by overuse, disparate mineral extraction, and politicians who seek to significantly reduce wilderness areas in Utah and the entire country.
I recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby government leaders to protect specific public lands in Utah. I met with The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and various federal senators and representatives from Utah, Colorado, Georgia, Arizona, and several other states. Meeting with people on both sides of the issue was encouraging because even if we didn’t agree on how to move forward, we both reached new levels of understanding that will ultimately help us move forward together.
Think about your favorite spot of wilderness. What would you do if you lost that? Do something now to protect the wild sanctuaries you love. Start by joining the conversation and making your opinion known to your local and federal representatives. Your opinion matters! If you don’t share what you believe, industry authorities and politicians will make your decisions for you.
Getting involved is easier than you might think. You can start with small things, like making an appointment with a local government leader or joining an activist group in your area. Do whatever it takes to start the conversation. Taking a few moments now to protect lands that were formed over thousands of years is an investment that is definitely worth the effort.