Happy New Year! I’ve spent a bit of time in the last few weeks reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the coming one. One thing that really stood out is that I spent a lot of 2018 building awareness of the WWRP, deepening Coalition partnerships, and generally working to expand outdoor recreation opportunities and habitat conservation throughout the state—after all, that is my job!
But I, like so many of us, let the day-to-day work become too much the focus. I would go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch some Netflix, read a book, go to bed, and then repeat. I could probably count the number of hikes I took last year on both hands. And the number of camping trips on just one. I wasn’t feeding that part of my soul that hungers for trees, mountains, rivers, and lakes. I wasn’t honoring the part of me that makes me passionate about my work.
So, this year, I’m going to change that, both for me and for my work. Because it’s also the Coalition’s 30th anniversary year. 2019 marks 30 years of building local parks, preserving family farms, and restoring wildlife habitat. It marks 30 years of bipartisan collaboration to preserve and protect the best of Washington.
This got me thinking. The traditional gift for the 30th anniversary is pearls. And in addition to the “an abnormal growth within the shell of some mollusks” so often turned into jewelry, a pearl is also defined as “one that is very choice or precious.”
So, this year, I’m celebrating the pearls of Washington! I’m celebrating the “choice and precious” places that make our state so great. From local parks to farms, from urban wildlife areas to massive tracts of wilderness. The WWRP was founded to protect these pearls so all Washingtonians can enjoy them—and this year I’m going to do more of that!
In fact, I’m going to visit at least 30 WWRP pearls to mark 30 years, and I’m going to share them with you as I go: on social media, on our blog, and in this newsletter. I hope you’ll not just follow along, but join me on this adventure, visiting your own 30 (or more!) pearls this year. You can find projects near you using the map on our website.
I kicked off this challenge with a New Year’s Day hike up Tiger Mountain—a WWRP pearl many times over (but I’ll just count it as one). The picture below is from near the summit—a worthy reward for three miles of constant upward hiking!
Where will this challenge take me next? I don’t know—you’ll have to follow along to find out!