Jamie Lennox is membership coordinator for the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and a board member of the Wild Rockies Legislative Action Fund. He previously worked for the Missoula Independent, a weekly newspaper. He lives in Missoula, Mont.

Monday, 2 Aug 1999

MISSOULA, Mont.

Today, I am pondering wilderness. I write and rewrite about my relationship with the wild. Questions arise. How can I convey the wilderness message without being too corny or too factual? I guess I have a little stage fright. People are going to read this and I don’t want to leave them with any bad ideas about wilderness.

“Wilderness needs no defense,” to paraphrase Ed Abbey, “just more defenders.”

Artwork by Gabriel Travis.

My appreciation of nature started with one of my first memories. When I was six years old, my parents, two older brothers, and I traveled 12 days across America from Pennsylvania to Washington state in the family station wagon. Along the way, we visited Yellowstone National Park. A black bear jumped up on my side of the car and peered through the window at me. My first real memory of nature startled the crap out of me but captured my soul. I wanted more.

It all starts with a childhood memory. Many people have similar recollections. I don’t need to tell anyone about wilderness because most of us already know a little about it. It is within our souls. It is just a matter of getting in touch, dialing up that number …

Today, I work with the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, a group of dedicated folks working to protect a legacy of wilderness on our public lands. I act on the belief that wilderness is inherently good.