National Parks Mission Accomplished At 65!

OMG!

The first day of my 66th year, I woke up early to write my blog saluting the National Park System on the 100th anniversary of its caretaker agency, the National Park Service. I planned to write about my top five favorite national parks ( Grand Teton, Denali, Badlands, Kingsley/Timucuan and Everglades) using the vivid descriptions from being there to excite others to visit.

Then I opened the first email, and found my mission already accomplished in this podcast produced by my friend Natasha Milne from Australia and who I have still to meet. Natasha and her collaborator Dr. Barbara Royal are the inspiration behind 101 Reasons to Get Out Of Bed, profiling 101 "planet heroes."

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Listening to the podcast, I enjoyed all over again the adventure, the mission, the challenges and successes that Frank and I with many allies have encountered through the years of striving to reconnect people with the vast swaths of nature in our national parks and public lands. Now I feel I NEED DO NOTHING ELSE other than share it with the world. Anyone who can resist the call to explore our public lands and actively engage in their enjoyment and stewardship must already be completely happy in their current situation and need try nothing new.

This week we'll find out if President Obama issues the Presidential Memo that the Next100 Coalition asked him for on the Centennial, calling for greater diversity in the park service's workforce and visitorship, and a more inclusive vision of the public lands system for the next 100 years. You can help by signing the petition here.

Meanwhile, Happy 100th Birthday this Thursday, September 25, National Park Service! Congratulations to all those who act in the spirit of love that I express in this podcast. Others who take it to heart might find that Americans of color are natural and necessary allies in the preservation of our precious natural, cultural and historical treasures so that we can hand them off intact to future generations. There is no other viable way.