I have spent over 25 summers in the interior of Algonquin Park. I love it. Its tall pines, roaming rivers, and cold deep lakes feel like home. Fifteen minutes of canoeing is all I need to feel relaxed. I belong in this wilderness. I am absolutely content sitting on a rock gazing across a still lake. Algonquin was one of my fist teachers. It taught me the importance of quiet, the power of the present, and the acceptance of death.
Though Algonquin has been trampled by millions of feet, though its woods are often disturbed by the sound of chain saws, and though man has tried to conquer it more than enjoy it – its beauty remains. I love this land and as I watch it be used by humanity I am concerned for it. Nature seems to have lost our respect and places like Algonquin suffer. The wild is not an area to be conquered but an area to be cherished. It is our greatest teacher, our greatest retreat, and therefore our greatest gift. We are to be natures protectors not its destroyer. I have come across too many campsites where young trees have been needlessly cut down, where garbage is strewn around, and where human filth is everywhere.
The arrogance of these acts is mind-boggling.
Nature is not our toy, something for us to play with and then discard. It is a necessity. It deserves our reverence, it deserves our attention, and it deserves our protection. I pray that we will once again stand in awe of wild beauty and majestic strength instead of trying to tame and harness it. I pray that places like Algonquin will once again become wilderness havens instead of recreational parks. I pray that the forests, rivers, and rocks will thrive long after I am gone.