Peter Metcalf is the founder and former CEO of Black Diamond. Here, we feature Metcalf’s inspirational tribute to (and plea for the continued protection of) America’s public lands, originally published in “For the Wild.” Photo: George Wuerthner
The year was 1995. I was just wrapping up my first graduate thesis, which focused on coyotes and white-tailed deer in Acadia National Park. Although I cared deeply about animals and the environment, I had begun to wonder how my background in wildlife management could make much of a difference in an unraveling world. Photo: Woodland Park Zoo
When E.O. Wilson wrote “Half-Earth,” in which he proposes that we set aside half the Earth for wildlife in order to protect biological diversity, he surely was thinking of Alaska. Alaska comes closer to protecting half of wild nature than does anywhere else on the planet. Photo: Steven Chase, USFWS
Did European Colonizers really cut all the Eastern old-growth forest? If not, how much remains? These were questions posed by famed wilderness defender Dave Foreman while sitting by a campfire in the Sonoran Desert in the late 1980s. He was wondering aloud to John Davis—back then, a young apprentice, now a veteran wildlands explorer. Photo: Robert Llewellyn
NINETY-ONE YEARS HAVE PASSED since Chile’s first national park was established, and every full-term Chilean president since has expanded the country’s park system. When the presidential photo-op occurred during the recent administrations of Chilean presidents Sebastian Pinera and Ricardo Lagos, there also stood Douglas Tompkins—whose private philanthropy prompted the birth of Chile’s Yendegaia and Corcovado National Parks, among others. Photo: Antonio Vizcaíno
I see “rewilding our hearts” as a dynamic personal journey and transformative exploration that not only fosters the development of corridors of coexistence and compassion for wild animals, but also facilitates connections between our hearts and our brains. In turn, these connections—or reconnections—result in actions that make the lives of animals better. Photo: David Moskowitz
THE FOURTH CURRENT—along with Monumentalism, Biodiversity Conservation (including representation of ecosystems), and Island Biogeography—in the modern conservation movement is the idea of rewilding—the scientific argument for restoring big wilderness based on the regulatory roles of large predators. Photo: David Moskowitz
For years, I’ve asked myself why a city girl from Boston—and an animal lover repelled by cruelty in all forms—has dedicated her career to advocating for creatures who must kill for a living.
OUR VISION IS SIMPLE: we live for the day when Grizzly Bears in Chihuahua have an unbroken connection to Grizzlies in Alaska; when Gray Wolf populations are continuous from Mexico to Labrador; when vast unbroken forests and flowing plains again thrive and support pre-Columbian populations of plants and animals; when humans dwell with respect, harmony, and affection for the land; when we come to live no longer as strangers and aliens on this continent.
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, as a fledgling lawyer in Seattle, I cut my conservation teeth on the great timber wars of the Pacific Northwest—strategizing around how a small bird (the northern spotted owl) could be used as a surrogate to save entire ecosystems. This issue seemed like a big deal at the time, and of course it was in many ways. But while I was busy trying to save spotted owls, the founders of The Wildlands Project, now Wildlands Network, were envisioning even bigger things.
Half the lifespan of a chimpanzee, or a scarlet macaw lighting the tropical sky. Twice the age of an old wild cougar, who somehow eluded highways and guns. A few blinks of the eye for a bowhead whale, her baleen sifting the Beaufort across two centuries or more. And the silver anniversary of couples of our own kind, honoring the hard-earned stories they’ve created along the way.