I hiked Margaret’s Way yesterday.
As is the case each time I hike this trail, I remember with fondness and gratitude former trail colleague and outdoors advocate Margaret Macleod. For over 20 years, Margaret was the Interagency Trails Coordinator for King County, City of Issaquah, and Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Through her persistence and talent for bringing people together, hundreds of acres of open space have been preserved for wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation just minutes from Seattle.
It wasn’t so long ago that the land traversed by Margaret’s Way was a private campground. When the campground became history, the land was acquired for timber harvest. Thanks to some quick action by local citizens, King County and the Trust for Public Land, the acreage was purchased and saved for public use and as a wildlife area.
The 216 acres were incorporated into the Cougar/Squak Corridor Park and was officially opened to the public in 2015 with the opening of Margaret’s Way trail. It was the perfect tribute to a woman who spent much of her life preserving open space for the next generation.
I know that nothing is permanent in our world. A puppy today, a dog tomorrow. Sleepy suburb 20 years ago, today a metropolis. I hope, though, that our public lands are more than a temporary status. The faster our cities grow and technology evolves, the more we need close-to-home wild spaces that help us connect to nature.
I’m an optimist at heart and I see an upside in the Republican balance of power shift. It’s the outcry for social justice in America. The political activism that was ignited as we approached the campaign season is turning into a fire storm.
That we have to remind Americans that Black Lives Matter is sad. It’s even more tragic that the statement is challenged, belittled and attacked. On the other hand, it has empowered African Americans, raised public awareness, and encouraged many to examine racism and white privilege.
We witnessed an entire gender mobilize right after inauguration day when millions of women took to the streets to protest. Women (and men) rallied for reproductive rights, an end to violence, gender equity, immigrants rights, environmental justice, and more. A new generation of female activists has been launched and they’re raising the game.
The administration’s Muslim travel ban and restrictions on refugees stirred even more people to rise up and take action. Citizens, social justice and faith-based communities converged at major airports to protest the ban. Marches and vigils were held. My state of Washington filed a legal challenge against the travel ban and succeeded in getting it stopped nationally.
Awareness is increasing as to how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, will impact Americans’ health care. Republican lawmakers are getting an earful from angry constituents at town hall meetings.
I still believe that each of us can make a difference. As We the People engage politically, we raise the game. So please pay attention, think critically and use your voice.