Public Lands: We Cannot Live Without You

Tomorrow Coloradans celebrate Public Lands Day. In May 2016, Colorado became the first state in the nation to honor public lands and an outdoor way of life. Aaron Kindle, director of Western sporting campaigns for the National Wildlife Federation, is a hunter, rafter, angler and all-around outdoor adventurer. He lives with his wife and two children in Salida, CO.

Dear Dear Public Lands, I wanted to write to remind you how much you mean to me. You are so deeply ingrained in everything my family does. We have grown up with you and been shaped by you. Our lives have been built around trying to be closer to you and spend more time with you. Whenever we are not with you, we dream of the next time we can be. You feed our spirits and our bodies. When our children were born we yearned to immerse them in your presence. So before they were even two weeks old, we were out camping and floating on the Blackfoot River in Montana so they could know you from the moment they knew anything.

Now living in Colorado, you provide sustenance when we hunt the San Isabel National Forest and bring home wild meat. You give us energy and life when we walk among your trees and wildflowers of the Weminuche Wilderness. You liven our spirits and feed our hearts when we immerse in your grandeur in the Black Canyon. You burn visceral memories into our minds when we watch elk calves frolic in the lush expanses of the Flat Tops.

Without you, we wouldn’t be us. We simply cannot live without you. We are forever indebted to you for all the inexplicable gifts you have bestowed upon us. We love you public lands!

So many of our country’s parks and public lands written about in these love notes would not exist but for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It’s why Congress should fund the program permanently. Follow the movement along at #FundLWCF. Learn more here.…………………………………………………………………………………….

Would you like to write about public lands that you cherish? Please email Mary Jo Brooks at brooksm@nwf.org for guidelines.

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