My Wilderness: Mary Birchwood Lawson

By Mary Birchwood Lawson

Mary Birchwood Lawson takes on the voice of the wilderness in her entry to the "Your Wilderness Stories" essay call.

I Am

I am the magnificent home to the grandeur of North America’s tallest mountain which creates its own weather system.

I wonder if the visitors who come to my place will respect me enough to follow the rules and regulations to help keep me beautiful and productive for now and the years to come. I hear the sled dogs in the only working kennel barking their desire to be out running the trails.

I see Teklanika West and Bull River II, two of the oldest known archaeology sites in North America, where people lived and thrived some 12,500 to over 13,000 years ago.

I want to encourage my many thousands of visitors to stay on maintained trails while they follow the Leave No Trace principles so generations in the future can enjoy me.

I am a vast area where balance between the trails, the park road, and me is important to my survival.

I pretend that all my visitors understand this balance that is needed to keep me viable, but know I have a lot of educating and checking to do in order to preserve my vast area for all time. I believe that maintaining this fragile balance will benefit my animals, my fauna, and will give the visitors a place to marvel at and remember.

I feel immense pride in all the efforts of the rangers who tirelessly work to protect my land, animals and fauna so that it will always be here to be enjoyed.

I cry when I see those visitor not respecting the many efforts expended on my behalf so that I am protected for them.

I understand that in order to survive, my protection must include educating the public about the importance of the regulations, enforcing the exsisting regulations, creating new regulations be they temporary or permanent when needed and having temporary or permanent closures when deemed necessary.

I am the magnificent Denali Wilderness that is home to Mt. Denali, highest mountain in North America, abundant wildlife, and awe inspiring scenery waiting for you, my visitors, to enjoy me for many years to come.

About "Your Wilderness Stories"

2014 was the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. As part of that celebration, Denali asked visitors to share their stories, to help in building a collection of stories about what wilderness means to you!

Last updated: September 19, 2017