Protecting the Wild Sky Wilderness for Everyone
This week the Wilderness Land Trust completed the purchase of the privately owned 280-acre Greater New York Lode property in Washington’s Wild Sky Wilderness.
The Greater New York Lode is located in the heart of the Wild Sky Wilderness in the Silver Creek drainage- a place many of you may recognize from past projects. This is the seventh project we’ve completed in the drainage, which is riddled with privately owned properties and mining claims. This one drainage contains almost all of the remaining Wild Sky Wilderness private inholdings, and one-third of the private inholdings left in Washington State, making it a high priority for our work in the North Cascades region.
In addition to the ecological importance of it’s temperate rainforests, salmon spawning grounds and alpine habitat, the Wild Sky Wilderness is only an hour or so away for Seattle’s 4 million residents. Preserving this kind of close-to-home wilderness access helps make the outdoors more equitable and inclusive. Communities of color, which represent 38% of the Seattle metro area population, are 3x more likely than white communities to live in nature deprived areas 1, a statistic that is also mirrored for low-income communities. Improved outdoor access for these communities has many social and health benefits: Low-income households who have the greatest access to nature and open spaces have the lowest levels of health inequity 2.
Pursuing projects like the Greater New York Lode that help protect wilderness close to nature deprived communities is one way our conservation community can help ensure our wild places are accessible to everyone.
Want to learn more about organizations working to connect underserved communities in Seattle to wilderness? Check out Wilderness-Inner City Leadership Development, The Sierra Club’s Seattle Inner City Outings, and Outdoors Empowered Network.