To the Editor:
Yosemite Area Audubon Society supports the movement to create a national monument between Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings National Parks because I believe that it is the right thing to do.
If we look back in our nation’s history, particularly in the Sierra Nevada, we find many people who did great things for future generations. Abraham Lincoln, John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt are just three examples. It is because of them that we have the national parks, and because of those parks, we have a tourism economy – which provides 6,000 jobs in Mariposa County and many more jobs in Madera and Fresno Counties.
But the reasons that they worked to preserve beautiful places was not for the economy. Rather, it was because landscapes like the ones found in the Sierra Nevada are special. People come from all over the world to marvel at the majesty of our mountains. And we, as local people, visit and enjoy them to renew our spirits, to refresh ourselves and to wonder at the mystery of it all. I know I do.
When we protect great landscapes, we are acting on a sense that the world is a beautiful, unified whole, not just a series of parcels to be divided and sold to the highest bidder and richest tycoon. Instead, we take joint ownership and share our heritage with everyone.
But it’s been too long since we’ve acted in alignment with this finest of American ideals–ideals of conservation, parks and compassion for wildlife and each other. The forgotten land between Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon needs to be protected. What’s left of our beautiful forests needs a special status. By making a national monument out of the federal land between the parks, we protect the environment, enhance and improve our water supply, bolster our economy, and further increase our recreational opportunities. This ensures that we will have beautiful places in which to hunt, hike, camp, bike, climb, paddle, walk our dogs and just experience solitude for generations to come.
More than 100 local businesses and organizations already support the idea. It’s a step in the right direction. But we need to go further. October 1st is the 125th anniversary of Yosemite National Park – and the time has come to renew this great American tradition, by creating one grand Sierra National Monument. Join the movement and get involved. To learn more or get involved, contact me or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lowell J. Young, President Yosemite Area Audubon Society P.O. Box 943 Mariposa, CA 95338