Help sup­port public lands

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE -


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.

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