Summer is finally upon the West which means that people, like migrating animals, will return to our natural spaces. Over the last few years, Western national parks like Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Zion and others have seen record-breaking influxes of visitors. 

The American fascination with the West has been pervasive throughout our nation’s history, and who can blame us? The soaring vistas, miles of open space and accessibility that we sometimes take for granted are foreign to many people from the more tightly settled urban spaces back east. 

These spaces that we celebrate are so important to conservation efforts. Each national park has its own distinct ecosystem, and these ecosystems can mitigate the effects of climate change through their natural cycles. Wetlands mitigate flooding, and healthy forests mitigate wildfires and greenhouse gases. Not to mention, having access to these places reduces stress and has health benefits beyond just getting people active. 

Conservation is an issue that benefits all communities, and it’s a cause that everyone can rally behind for a multitude of reasons. That’s why this summer, the American Conservation Coalition is bringing our activists West for the ACC Summit in Salt Lake City so that they can experience these spaces and the effects of Western conservation themselves. 

Hattie Hobart

Western regional director at the American Conservation Coalition