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  March/April 1998 Features:
On Top of the World
Just Deserts
Tallying the Taku
Rolling Towards the Moon
The Great Indoors
 
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Sierra Magazine
Field Guide: Stretch Your Legs

By Editor-in-chief Joan Hamilton

To fuel passion for what we are trying to save, organizations like ours should require their workers to spend two weeks in the wilderness every year, says conservationist Dave Foreman. Such sojourns could help nurture the heart of a movement that at times gets too wrapped up in heady theories and hard work.

Fortunately, Sierra needs no such forced wilderness marches. Our staff venture out-of-doors on their own initiative. In fact, when it was time to plan and research the 1998 "Wild Journeys" issue, it was hard to keep them at home. Even senior editor Reed McManus, who coordinates the work of others in this issue every year, succumbed to wanderlust, tossed his notebook into a dry-bag, and headed down a wild British Columbia river.

"It might just be a vacation," McManus warned before he left, leery of promising insight or epiphany on what might be an uneventful trip. He surprised himself midway through the journey, however, when he realized that he was learning how to see nature in new ways, aided by a plant list and a journal. Others on the trip, including wildlife artist Robert Bateman and photographer Art Wolfe, used sketch pens and cameras—all standard tools for developing a deeper kinship with nature.

The allure of Canada's magnificent wilds also tempted senior editor Paul Rauber. He eschewed plants (there weren't any!) to ponder how humans and other mammals adapt to the year-round rigors of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic.

Writer/editor B. J. Bergman, who spent two weeks in the Grand Canyon for a story last issue, had the shortest but arguably the scariest assignment for March/April—venturing into a crowded California shopping mall to check out a $9.95 "wilderness experience."

If it sounds as if we may have had too much fun putting out this issue, keep in mind these words from author Edward Abbey: "Devoted though we must be to the conservation cause, I do not believe that any of us should give it all of our time or effort or heart. Let us save at least part of our lives for enjoyment of this wonderful world which still exists. Leave your dens, abandon your cars, and walk out into the mountains, the deserts, the forests, the seashores. Those treasures still belong to all of us. Enjoy them to the full, stretch your legs, enliven your hearts—and we will outlive the greedy swine who want to destroy it all."


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