Some of my very first and best memories (I must have been about 3 years old) are of the outdoors. By that I don’t mean the lawn or a favorite tree.
My grandfather located and developed mining properties . . . unsuccessfully when I was boy because he was in his mid-70s, but he recruited my father and uncles to help during the summer.
I recall that for day after day, they would climb up the mountain above Hyrum, Utah. I’d ride on my father’s back. Later they build a road and we’d go up in the truck to the Moon Mine prospect.
While they worked, I was left to sit on edge of the prospect surrounded by sagebrush with a view of Cache Valley, Utah spread below. There was the occasional rattlesnake, the mountain slope was a slightly steep, I might have been stung by a bee, perhaps there were scorpions. The situation would be regarded as incorrect by those who give advice on child rearing.
It was wonderful . . . glorious!!. The world was so new, green, and the valley with the Wellsvelle Mountains rising on the other side seemed endless. To me the world was welcome and so right. I have never stopped loving the outdoors.
While only a few children have an experience like that, my path was already partially set. I never stopped loving the outdoors.
Today few children are given a connection to the outdoors. Undue fear of hazards, dangerous people, and the enticements of video games, television, and the computer stand in the way.
As far as formal education, 8 years of George Bush’s misconceived “no child left behind” that ignores physical activity and outdoor education, has already ruined half of generation. This will have profound negative effects for our future.
The article below worries about Montana’s outdoor recreation economy, but the problem is much deeper than that.
Numbers bode poorly for recreation tourism. By Daniel Person. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer