Balancing Act: learning to be a nature lover and a nature adventurer, by Morgan Heim and Emily Loose appeared in the Summer 2011 Trail and Timberline Magazine, a publication of the Colorado Mountain Club. The article, which focuses specifically on Nature Needs Half in Colorado, discusses the many things we receive from wild-nature and the important role of stewardship. Below is a brief excerpt, or you can view the full article.
A typical Saturday morning: wake up, stretch, and leave the comfort of your cozy bed in favor of a brutally steep and rocky mountain summit. You find yourself magnificently alone somewhere between the trees and clouds. Just you and nature. Beautiful. Peaceful. Is this the weekend routine of the average Colorado citizen—like you or me? Or is it the daily routine of every bighorn sheep, mountain lion, bear, and every other critter that calls this mountain ecosystem home? It can be both, but there is a careful balance. Colorado is a state with immense natural resources. Of course, there are the world-famous national parks and wilderness areas, and the 54 mountain peaks stretching over 14,000 feet towards the sky. Then, there are the 42 state forests and hundreds of thousands of acres of municipal open space. All of this seeming bounty composes the natural landscape we call home. And, with nearly 30 million of the state’s more than 66 million acres protected, the “wild” experience is never far away. There is little doubt that Colorado is a leader in protecting wild nature, and we are fortunate to enjoy a plethora of wild opportunities.
But, as many of us have heard before, a rapidly growing population, the increasing popularity of outdoor recreation in these natural areas, and environmental concerns such as climate change, have already begun to take their toll on our natural resources. That is why it is of growing importance that we balance use, so that experiences like these remain for future generations of people and wildlife. It’s about continuing to observe, and learning every step of the way.
But what does balance really mean? Nature Needs Half, a global call-to-action to protect and interconnect at least half of the planet’s land and water, gives a framework for finding the answer to this question.