This Land is Your Land Stewardship and Our Public Lands
Woody Guthrie voiced perhaps the most potent and beloved statement of the American ethos in his classic song, “This Land is Your Land.” Yet, as our society faces enormous challenges due to an unprecedented imbalance of power in favor of private corporations, one has to wonder, is this land really made for you and me?
Yet, if you ask the KS Wild community, the answer is a simple and resounding YES! America is so beautiful in large part because of the diverse and expansive natural landscapes that belong to all Americans. It is the legacy of great conservationists that a good portion of these lands remain intact, and as questions bubble into the political discourse about the value of our public lands, it is our imperative to answer those questions clearly and directly.
From these public lands, we reap enormous social and economic benefits in the form of ecosystem services including clean water, climate stabilization and nutrient cycling. By the best current measurements, ecosystem services worldwide provide economic benefit several times the value of global GDP. But for many of you, and certainly for us at KS Wild, these cold calculations say nothing of the intangible benefits to our well- being from the protection of wild places.
“To be fully human, we must participate in the natural world; to be fully alive, we must experience the living beauty of the natural world.” - Aldo Leopold
Leopold reminds us of our place in the community of life, inclusive of rock, soil, water, air, and all the organisms with which we share the earth. With an awareness of this more-than-human community, we partake in a land ethic. At KS Wild, we strive to spread this land ethic, promoting a community of stewardship.
Environmental stewards can operate in a variety of ways: as practitioners, donors, and doers. Our staff works hard each day as practitioners, working directly with government agencies and stakeholders to promote best practices in the management of our public lands. Foundations and community members serve as vital donors, providing financial support for our work. The doers are all of you—KS Wild members, volunteers, interns, and partners—who take part in our work, voice your support for public lands, or even just get out on a hike. Anyone can be an environmental steward of the Klamath-Siskiyou region by nourishing a connection with our beautiful wild places, and by staying aware and engaged with the processes that affect them.