Magazine article National Parks

Adjusting My Priorities

Magazine article National Parks

Adjusting My Priorities

Article excerpt

I honestly can't remember what I spent my time thinking about when I was 13, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't saving the wilderness, and it almost certainly wasn't cancer. Joseph Goldstein got me thinking about both.

The teenager from Springfield, Illinois, visited NPCA in April, on the day of our annual gala, and we were just slammed. You know those days, when there is way too much to do? Sorting through the final details of a dinner for 400 politicians, advocates, and donors felt like the most important priority to me.

But the Secretary of the Interior's office had asked if we would talk to Joseph, so late that afternoon, Chief Operating Officer Theresa Piemo and I met him, his mother, and a guide from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. He had come to Washington to lobby Congress and the Obama Administration about Boundary Waters, a popular spot for fishing, canoeing, and camping. Joseph is very concerned about a copper-mining proposal that threatens the site. Because the wilderness is adjacent to Voyageurs National Park and NPCA is a park-advocacy organization, Joseph wanted to be certain we heard his ideas-that Boundary Waters needs additional protection. …

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