As a nurse practitioner, I have firsthand knowledge of the health benefits of spending time outside. Being active in nature not only improves our physical shape but it also has positive impacts on our mood. That’s why we are so lucky to live in North Idaho and have access to some of the most beautiful public lands in the country.
I lead patient hikes in Sandpoint and am always trying to get people to move more. I came from Ohio where there is virtually no public land. We are so lucky to have a trail that is so well maintained by the Scotchman Peak Wilderness group. There is no sweeter reward than making it up to the top and seeing that breathtaking view of Lake Pend Oreille and the rugged beauty of the cornice. It’s become a local rite of passage that so many of us bond over — my patients train to walk up the mountain, their families train to do it together. The pride and satisfaction I’ve seen in the folks who have done it, whether they are 7 or 70, has convinced me that we need to make sure this place stays the way it is so future generations can have the same experience we all have today.
On May 15, we are going to be asked if we are in favor of Sen. James Risch’s proposal to designate the Scotchman Peaks as wilderness. The senator’s proposal reflects our community’s vision for this special place and now we have a chance to say so. I will be voting in favor of making sure the Scotchman Peaks is always a place that builds camaraderie among neighbors and is such a vital part of our way of life. I hope you will join me.