We head out today from Wisconsin toward Utah, where canyonlands beckon. Steve used to volunteer for the National Park Service at Wupatki National Monument helping with archaeological and anthropological studies, and it ignited in him a passion for indigenous desert cultures. This will be our fourth trip out West together. Here is a photo from our first trip. This is Mesa Verde in Colorado:
Here is one I took in the Ojito Wilderness in New Mexico on our last trip:
On the way back, we stopped at the Cahokia Mounds State Historic site in Illinois where we saw the remnants of a pre-Columbian city of approximately 10,000 inhabitants. Some of those Mississippian peoples also settled in Wisconsin at what is now Aztalan State Park, where we’ve visited several times.
The more I learn about cultures who thrived in this country long before European settlers arrived, the more I appreciate the relationship they had with the places they lived. Our heritage as human beings is written on the landscape. We need to learn from the evidence of how we’ve impacted the resources of desert, woodland, or any other habitat. What we will pass on to the next generations of Earth inhabitants hinges on this collective wisdom.
Thanks Scilla. Have never been to this part of the world. Is ‘pristine’ the right word to describe how well kept these locations have cared for and respected? Meg
Well, even designated Wilderness can hardly be ‘pristine’ with light and air pollution and acid rain uncontrollable. The word in the Wilderness Act is “untrammeled”. Mesa Verde isn’t wilderness; it’s a National Park. Aztalan and Cahokia are State Parks. These get a lot of visitors. And some vandalism, sadly. The current US President does not value these lands and historic monuments. He values profit and extraction of resources. So, keeping these kinds of places respected and cared for is a continuous battle. However, the USA is very big…I believe there are places left far closer to pristine than in most industrialized nations. And I believe they’re worth fighting for!
Thanks for ‘untrammeled,’ a word to cherish and stand by!
The thanks go to Howard Zahniser. I agree!