Zion National Park

Public Lands Brought a Sense of Renewal During a Stressful Time

Quinne Shultz is a junior at Jefferson High School in Boulder, Montana.

Within my 16 years of life, I have been able to travel and spend time in several different national parks including Yellowstone, Glacier, and Zion. The one I remember most is Zion. I was able to go at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The park was partially empty due to travel restrictions, so I was able to just take in the views without the chaos of thousands of people. It was peaceful and it gave me a sense of renewal during a stressful time for our world. When everything feels out-of-control, the calm of nature allows me to feel like I have just a little bit of control. I was able to spend my time hiking without a care in the world.

Being able to grow near public lands has been a blessing to my mental health. Just being able to drive for 10 minutes and be in the great outdoors is such a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious experience. I have watched trees and plants grow up, and I have seen these places that are a part of my home change. And as I continue to grow and change, I hope that I will be able to watch these places grow and change with me.

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This essay was part of an assignment for students in Anne Jolliff’s outdoor literature class at Jefferson High School in Boulder, Montana. We’ll be featuring essays from her class all week.

Would you like to write about public lands that you cherish? Please email Mary Jo Brooks at brooksm@nwf.org for guidelines. You’ll get a cool “public lands lover” sticker as a thank you.

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National Wildlife Federation — Our Public Lands

National Wildlife Federation — Our Public Lands

The National Wildlife Federation public lands program advocates for our public lands and waters, wildlife and the right of every American to enjoy them.