Last week I had a Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition mission moment. I had the opportunity to get out of the office and spend some time hiking and backpacking with a good friend up on the Rampart Ridge near Snoqualmie Pass. What a treat. I packed light: tent, sleeping bag, water filter, a few packets of instant coffee, and my fishing rod—not much else. As we scurried up the “backdoor” trail and approached Lake Laura there was a sense of calm that came over me (through the sweat of climbing 2000 vertical feet in less than a mile). For those of you that get outdoors into wild places, you know what I am talking about. That minute when nothing else matters but the next step in front of you. I truly felt like I was living in John Muir’s famous passage: “The Mountains are calling and I must go.” It was such a wonderful climb. The stress of daily life seemed to drift away all at once.
My mission moment came about 24 hours later. With fishing rod and reel in hand I tossed over 50 casts, and then it happened: FISH ON!
Now, I would not classify myself as a fisherman. I have been fishing all my life in different places for different kinds of fish, but I honestly don’t really know what I am doing. Still, when that 13-inch rainbow trout bit, I felt like the famous angler Babe Winkelman. My buddy told me that my face lit up like a 10-year-old at Christmas time.
Later that evening around the campfire I had time to reflect on the day’s events and I couldn’t help but think about my work family and what we do on a daily basis. Because of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, people get to experience areas the great outdoors that wouldn’t have been preserved without it. My two-year old daughter will be able to fish in the same lakes, paddle the same rivers, and hike some of the same trails that her father once did. This is why I advocate for the WWRP. My personal values have never been so aligned with my professional responsibilities.
Speaking of mission alignment, there were many organizations who either became Coalition members for the first time or renewed their membership in the month of August. Because of these organizations and many, many others, our team is able to spread the word about the WWRP and the benefits it brings to people and communities all over Washington State. These organizations enable our team to follow through on the Coalition’s mission: To ensure robust funding for Washington’s great outdoors by unifying disparate voices through education and advocacy. A big heartfelt THANK YOU to Recreation Northwest, Kittitas County Field & Stream, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, Chelan Douglas Land Trust, Conservation Northwest, Wenatchee Outdoors, Inland Northwest Trails Coalition, and the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy for joining (or renewing their membership to) the Coalition. Check out what these wonderful groups do to preserve and protect Washington state’s natural resources, and then—as always—go get outside.