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Now that Trump has completed his first 100 days in office, I’d love to take him on a hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and show him the Cascade-Siskyou National Monument in Southern Oregon in its spring glory. I want to show him the diversity of trees and flowers (I counted 50 flowering species on a June day!), the ancient geology of a piece of earth that has not been subjected to glacial movements. I want to point to the far vistas of the Cascades to the North, Mt Shasta to the South-east and Mt Ashland to the West. Once Mr Trump experiences the comforting trump-a-thump of his heart, and the relaxed tiredness that sets in after miles of muscle movement, when he inhales the refreshing air, I may yet be able to change his mind on his “review” of the usefulness of our National Monuments.
Of course this isn’t going to happen, you say, he’s too busy playing golf and making “deals”. Well do I have a deal for him! How about an American infrastructure upgrade: building trails! This project will provide plenty of environmentally friendly jobs, it will reduce health costs by improving the workers’ health, diminish the great divide between the left and the right by working in teams. We can have prisoner teams, drug rehab teams, illegal immigrant teams, Wall Street hob-nob lobby teams, Silicon Valley teams, DeVos charter school teams to name a few. In exchange for a week of trail building the prisoners get “good-time” on their sentence, the jobless drug rehab people get to pay the benefits forward and take others on the trail, the illegals get points toward legal status, the Wall street guys get a tax break, Silicon Valley techies get to choose between a tax break and counting the hours as creative time working off-site, the charter school teams will do the math for DeVos on free outdoor education versus voucher paid religious education. We can connect trail heads with public transportation, build more wheel chair accessible trails with money saved on lowered cost of housing prisoners, on fewer drug rehab programs, ICE salaries, lowered expenses in lobbying favors, lowered scientific and tech development costs since studying nature is free on the trail. Americans will walk more, enjoy their country more, and become grateful for the beauty the president makes available to everyone. America will FEEL great again!
But seriously, at this 100 day mark of the president in office, I want to remember all the hikers who have completed their first 100 miles of the PCT. All you walkers and hikers and trail angels are a force that make America Greater all the time. You are an inspiration to the depressed and the stressed, you embrace the veterans, the mentally unstable, the rich and the poor in sharing the trail and supporting all who walk the trail. You teach the children, our future, that there is more to life than collecting stuff. Every step you take on the trail is a step toward a better America, another cheer for our National Monuments. You are the ones who rouse support and build more trails. Walk on!