On Your Doorstep Issue 7 - Page 81

in the future. It is a pact between generations, a promise consequences of this influence remain only dimly understood. from the past to the future. ...Parks are places to stimulate Our increased numbers have altered terrestrial and marine an understanding of history in its larger context, not just as systems, strained resources and caused extinction rates never human experience, but as the sum of the interconnection before seen. As developed landscapes press against or surround of all living things and forces that shape the earth.” For her many parks, pollutants in both the air and water impact park though, the national parks were so much more. Without a resources. Our growing numbers encourage a drifting away from doubt, these federally protected lands reshaped her life. knowledge about nature and our own history as a nation and a people.” The report went on to suggest that the parks needed to Acadia was a refuge, of sorts, and a place to learn about take a leadership role not only in terms of leisure and recreation, herself and the world. She discovered how important but also as researchers and educators, promoting historical biodiversity was and how interconnected we were as literacy and conserving our land for the next generations. a planet. In turn, that shaped how she thought about environmental issues, and the impact that small problems had on the human family as a whole. From there, she explored other national parks, forests, monuments and heritage sites and became invested in preserving America’s history. The national parks were a place where she could let go of stress, push her limits, learn about her heritage and fall in love with the natural world. In fact, she wondered how she ever survived without Acadia. She certainly couldn’t imagine her future without the rugged cliffs of the Schoodic Peninsula, the soothing groves of Sieur de Monts, the starry skies above Jordan Pond or the feel of the first rays of sun over Cadillac SHANNON KALAHAN Shannon Kalahan is based out of the New England region of the United States. Her photographic journey began in 2002 while volunteering for an animal rescue. She has since built a successful business as a landscape, wedding and newspaper photographer, author and educator. Mountain. They were a balm for her weary soul, and a promise of hope for the future Although this is a fictional, and somewhat evocative account, it is based on my own real life interactions with both Acadia National Park, and the national parks, forests and monuments in other areas of the country. That sunrise really did happen, though I shared it with three other photographers, and that sort of memory has a way of etching itself in your heart. I have developed an appreciation for the parks both on a personal level, and as an national undertaking that should be a vital part of this country’s future. The national parks are an integral component both for the collective emotional health of Americans, and for the health of our planet. As they discovered in Yellowstone with the eradication and subsequent re-introduction of the gray wolves, every creature and plant has a role to play and disrupting the balance can have major consequences. In 2001, an advisory board for the national parks service wrote, “We are a species whose influence on natural systems is profound, yet the Next page, left and right: Ravens. Taken on the Schoodic Peninsula portion of Acadia National Park, at what is known as the Raven’s Nest. This section of the park was not advertised, but a park ranger told us where to go to find the trailhead. 81