Connections to Wilderness
As long as I can remember, I have been making my way to the Peninsula from Seattle. It has always been a more seasonal pilgrimage, the weather putting a bit of a damper on outdoor sleeping from October to May, so ferry rides and packed coolers became a much anticipated sign that summer had arrived.
I am deeply lucky to have had such an emphasis on outdoor excursions from such a young age, and while I certainly have my parents to thank for that, there is someone else in my immediate family who always insisted upon it. At 97 years old, my grandfather is the most storied outdoorsman I know, and sometimes it seems he has spent more time among trees and climbing mountains than in any sort of human-made structure, but what time he spent in offices, he used wisely. My grandfather, Dan Evans, was Governor of Washington from 1965 to 1977 and while he had many political interests, the environment remained high on his list. In 1970 the Washington State legislature voted to establish the Department of Ecology, which was then signed into law by my grandfather that February. This agency predates the EPA, and set the precedent for environmental protection agencies across the nation.
I have always been proud of my grandfather, and that pride is built on homemade breakfasts, letters sent in code when I was away, and many many games of dominoes, but my pride only grows when I see all the positive impacts he has had on the place I call home. The beauty of Washington is nothing to scoff at, and going to work each day to tend to the land at the feet of the newly renamed Daniel J. Evans Wilderness, reminds me of the efforts of those who have come before me, and the duty of my generation to continue to be stewards to the land we are so endlessly lucky to call home.