This Land is Your Land: Inspiration from Yellowstone National Park

Reader Contribution by Shawn Hosford
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I just got back from my first vacation to Yellowstone National Park. Cursorily, as Mark and I drove through the park, I found myself humming and singing This Land is your land by Woodie Guthrie. As a child of the early 60s I always favored this song among all the others that dote on our country.

Living in my beautiful city, but concrete jungle nonetheless, I often forget the vastness of our land. I also forget the diversity in our landscapes. As we drove from Seattle to Idaho, on to Montana, then Yellowstone, and back I marveled at the enormity in its various permutations. There was ample time to pause and think about the natural abundance around us and most important: how to value it, protect and save it, and share it with one and all.

We drove past the high deserts in our state we saw the windmills responsible for creating some of our energy. While driving through Idaho and parts of Montana, I saw signs about hydroelectric dam projects, and when fishing on the Snake River in Wyoming, I heard talk of fracking issues near Yellowstone. Driving the whole way I was continuously aware of the gas that my hybrid was consuming and wondered if our travels were even sustainable.

When we returned from our travels I was excited to look up how wind turbines work and their impact on our states energy supplies. I did a bit of research on the new and more efficient thinking on damns and then I checked out some old articles on fracking near Yellowstone. As I looked into these topics further I was reminded of how little our popular media sources cover with regards to what I hold important. I also discovered how little I know about other region’s environmental issues. I now plan to find new media resources that cover what holds significance in my life.

Finally I looked up Woodie Guthrie’s song and it’s lyrics to try and understand why it resonated with me while driving through one of our greatest treasures. The song research unfurled into quite an interesting journey for my soul. To think all of this work was inspired by going on vacation in Yellowstone – what a gift, indeed. It seems that when we break our day to day routines our minds get the space to think about all sorts of bigger picture things.

How can you take a break from your daily life to see what you will you discover? What are your news sources that you educate yourself through and are they worthy? Do you have ways of getting energy from your region that are new, effective, and innovative?

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