On October 8 it was announced that Obama declared the San Gabriel Mountains in LA a national monument. While this may not seem relevant to you all who don’t live in LA, it is to me because I spent a lot of time escaping to those mountains when I lived there over 10 years. This decision by Obama was a good move because apparently according to the data out there only 30% of the people living there are within walking distance of a park! While there I often dragged my super citified friends up into the mountains (much to my one friend Ian’s dismay because we ended up with serious poison oak after one trek through the woods) to show them what “nature” really looked like. And if I couldn’t get them to go far, I at least took them up into Topanga Canyon which was often surprisingly empty for a city of millions of people!
When you live in a super urban environment like LA it can often be a major struggle to step into nature because everything involves a long drive just to get out of town. The San Gabriel mountains weren’t exactly right there and not as easy to head out to like the Gorge or Mt. Hood is for Portlander’s, but it was still there and I did go out into those mountains often enough to recognize how important it is to have that piece of nature on the edge of such a massive urban sprawl (no offense to our HiB LA and HiB Santa Clarita of course).
Getting more parks and wildlife areas designated on the edges of cities is critical for our children and our own sanity. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to be able to travel in almost every direction from Portland and be able to find open space to adventure in from Silver Falls to Bend to the Olympic national forest. And then we have the parks and space within Portland that also can’t be forgotten like the 40+ miles of trails in Forest Park.
This last week I decided while Obama was signing off big old bills to commit resources and awareness to the big spaces like the San Gabriel range, I would do my own little awareness campaign for nature locally. So I signed myself and 10 Hike it Baby mamas up to clean up the parks in Portland. I didn’t even bother to ask if anyone would join me, I just signed us up and hoped people would show up.
I picked Forest Park near Pittock Mansion because we hike the Upper Macleay a lot and then Arbor Lodge park because these are two areas Hike it Baby Portland frequents. My thought was if even 10 of us came out and cleaned up the park for a few hours, that would make a difference because every little bit counts! I didn’t know if anyone would really show up because I had no prizes to offer and really I was just asking people to come work on the trail over hike…but sure enough a bunch of mamas came through and we had our own little Hike it Baby clean up crew. And what was great was people really noticed we were there. When you have women with babies on their backs working, people really take notice in America.
I am hoping we will make this a regular thing where all across America Hike it Baby branches look for 1-2 parks or trails to help clean up as part of our contribution for all of the space we are using with our ever growing park. And as our little ones grow, lets get them cleaning up on the trails too. What do you all think about that?
And on a final note…if you are going for the Hike it Baby 30 in November (30 miles on trail in 30 days! The big baby challenge!), here’s a thought…what if on one of your hikes in the month of November you carried a small trash bag with you on a hike and you picked up anything you saw on trail. Imagine if we did that in 30+ cities across America what an impact we would have on our parks? Just an idea to think about as you head our for your hikes this next week!
Don’t forget to check out our Indiegogo Crowdfunding campaign! It’s going on for a few more weeks.