The hustle of a busy day, traffic, noise, man-made light drowning natures color palate, and the ever growing cityscapes and urban sprawl. All these things are wonderful in their own right, but if left unchecked will continue to grow and force their will upon the land. While it won’t seemingly affect most people at first lather rinse repeat this cycle and by the time our children’s children are exploring the world they could very well be exploring a different world then you or I see today.
The world always seems to have a way of getting in the way and clouding judgment. I find myself trying to rationalize having too much to do and never having time for the outdoors. Each time I can convince myself to go I immediately realize that it was the right choice. I find that each trip I take outside into the undeveloped world unmistakably affects me better than any prescribed drug the world has concocted could. Depression, anxiety, inability to focus, tired? After 100 yards or so, whatever ailed me previously subsides and happiness takes over. Happiness maybe the wrong word, but it’s a blissful content-ness and wonderment that I couldn’t describe any more than that. Fresh air fills your lungs, tranquility resounds in your ears, and your eyes may not have seen when lays ahead of you but there is always a familiarity to it.
I don’t feel that I am alone in this regard which is why it is so important to ensure we have places people can go to get away. The Land Water Conservation Fund(LWCF) does just that, they purchase land and protect it to keep it as it is. Since 1966 the LWCF has used over $500,000 in funds to protect Hanging Rock State Park, my closest state park, by purchasing land and requiring federal approval to alter or affect the land in anyway. This affects everything from the purchase of the land itself to placing electrical lines. This donation isn’t uncommon for the LWCF either; they have a hand in protecting all but roughly two parks in North Carolina right now.
With the economy as it is it is easy to say that $500,000 is a lot of money and the park is plenty big, but we owe it to the future to not stop trying to expand. The LWCF is set up to not cost taxpayers a dime, but their funds continue to get allotted to other pressing matters like our country’s current debt. While an absolutely admirable endeavor the total sum collected from royalties to fund the LWCF is less than 1 Billion which in terms of our countries budget is miniscule. We need to ensure our present as well as our future and the best way to do that is by the purchase and protection of land.
That’s all not to mention the impact parks and the outdoors have on people, regular exercise decreases health risks, and nature decreases stress levels. Places like Hanging Rock provide the community a place to exercise, hike, swim, camp, learn, grow, and spend time with family and friends. Teach a child to embrace the outdoors early on and watch them return again and again. It is on all of us to let our state representatives know how we feel about our local, state, and national parks. There are plenty of resources to find them, but here’s one and when you're done with that GTFO!