Help support public lands
FROM: ROB ETGEN EASTON
Thank goodness the election is finally over. I heard the term “election stress disorder” this fall and it immediately resonated with me and many others I know. Part of the “election stress” for me related to the continuous news cycle and the overwhelmingly negative tone of the presidential election this year. But there also is a deeper anxiety emerging in our country around the obvious economic and social divides that were laid bare by the election.
It seems to me that conservation of parks and farms and open space could provide a bridge across some of the divides that America faces. At the political level, both Democrats and Republicans have storied traditions in conservation from Republican Teddy Roosevelt’s creation of the National Park system to Democratic President Obama’s creation of the Arctic Marine Sanctuary. In our communi- ties, parks are the melting pots where we all come together to celebrate, recreate and participate with each other, forming critical community bonds. And at a personal level, I believe we all have a deep need for access to land and nature and elbow room in an increasingly urbanized world.
As our new leaders take office at all levels please encourage them to support parks and nature preserves and open space. Think of the foresight of Teddy Roosevelt in starting our National Park System. We need that foresight now on the Eastern Shore and in our communities. These public spaces are critical infrastructure to be secured now for the benefit of our children and grandchildren. God blessed America with beautiful and verdant lands and waters and wildlife. And God Blessed the Eastern Shore even more so with terrific soils and a deep heritage of communities committed to the future of this beautiful place. I hope you will join me in encouraging our new leaders to create new conservation legacies.
Rob Etgen is the executive director of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy.