I learn how to tell how old a Dall sheep is (think tree rings)

THAT AFTERNOON I INVESTIGATE the camp’s nature exhibit, where I learn how to tell how old a Dall sheep is (think tree rings), examine resource files labeled Aurora through Giardia (from the sublime to the ridiculous), and reverently touch the wing feather of a golden eagle. “What is it you want guests to take away from their visit here?” I ask Jerry Cole. Jerry and Wally Cole bought Camp Denali from its original owners twenty-seven years ago. Jerry, a slender woman with that ruddy glow peculiar to those who live most of their lives out of doors, a glow common to everyone at Camp Denali, says, “We are as a society getting further and further away from dealing with nature. We want people to go away with an understanding of why it is imperative to protect and to value ecological systems. If they just go back with a greater appreciation of the green space in their own backyard, I’d be happy.”

Jenna said much the same thing that morning, quoting Aldo Leonard, “‘When we see land as a community to which we belong, we begin to treat it with love and respect.’” Simon says, “The land is pretty much the way it was before man got here, and we’d like to keep it that way.” To leave as small a footprint as possible is the credo here. No one at Camp Denali preaches, but they are true believers, and they speak from the heart.

Alaska Traveler Chatter

Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

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