Last week, my Facebook had some bad news for me.
Barker Dam in Joshua Tree was closed indefinitely due to vandalism. Barker Dam is a staple of the park. I’ve visited it almost every time I’ve gone to Joshua Tree and I always love how different it looks depending on when you visit. I’ve been there when the dam is overflowing with water and when it’s bone dry.
Nice and lively in 2010:
Robin and I have had discussions about awesome places in the park being ruined by too many people visiting and trashing them. I think my librarian training gives me a knee-jerk reaction. I want everyone to be able to access all the things! Keeping things purposely hidden is elitist and presumptive!
Then, I see things like this and it makes me so sad. I understand why Robin and her park people like to keep all the secrets to themselves when sharing them results in destruction. It makes me so angry at people. I want to believe the best of them, but obviously they can’t be trusted. Right?
So last week, I also came across this letter, posted on the Yosemite Park Facebook page. The letter itself is sweet, but there’s so many levels to it that just makes me love it more. Not only did this little girl go to Yosemite, she wanted to take a natural souvenir home with her. She must have attended a program or talked to someone who told her that you’re supposed to “take only pictures.” She remembered what she was taught and internalized it enough to return the sticks even after she’d returned home scott free. I think it shows a mixture of respect for nature, importance of education, and childhood innocence.
It’s moments like this where I see hope again – with a healthy dose of frustration. I completely get why these places need to be protected, but I also want that little girl to be able to visit the hidden gems of the parks.
I think kids today are being inundated with “green” messages about how they should take care of Mother Earth, but there is absolutely no substitute for positive experiences outdoors. If we can get kids outside, to see the value of nature, I think we can prevent at least some of the incidents like Barker Dam.