There's nothing like a warm fire, good company, and fresh Pacific Northwest air to recharge the batteries. Joined by Graham Hiemstra (founder of Field Mag), and Jaylyn Gough (founder of Native Womens Wilderness ), the Parks Project team touched down on the Olympic Peninsula in June 2019 to get back to our roots: doing the dirty work to protect and preserve National Parks.
As Joe Gibson likes to say, “Whether its food, coffee, or conversation—everything is better in the wild."
There’s just something about getting out there that makes trips like these special. “You can read all the articles in the world, but nothing brings home the importance of preserving our public lands quite like spending time exploring a national park, partaking in a clean up, and leaving it better than you found it,” says Hiemstra.
What started as a team bonding trip to clean up some trash in Olympic National Park became an eye-opening exploration of the wild, what it means to so many different people, and how different perspectives tackle the challenges facing today's outdoor community. We spent a morning cleaning up Beach 4, located just south of the iconic Ruby Beach in the park. Despite the beach being located on an isolated stretch of coastline, we pulled about 80 lbs of trash off the beach, plus a crab pot weighing about 100 lbs.
We recycled what we could, and the Park Service collected our microplastics to create art projects for youth that educate on ocean pollution.
We can't thank our friends enough for joining us to make a difference with boots on the ground, for enlightening us with their unique approaches, and for inspiring us to come back to our work with an even greater passion and energy.