Olympic Dispatch: Seeking Wilderness Purity

It was a cold day in the Quinault river valley. The temperatures hovered just about 20 degrees fahrenheit. There was not a sound to be heard, only the soft roar of the river moving through the forest. Moments like these, are what I consider to be wilderness purity.

Unfortunately, because of the spike in digital articles and social media, places and moments like these are becoming more rare. What causes this sudden influx? Detailing and naming places online for a minimal monetary gain. Writers and hikers are publishing the same locations over and over again all over the internet. This causes heavy overuse in those specific areas. The impact of a campsite that gets heavy camping use in the backcountry, takes generations to recover from.

What would a writer gain from this? Without getting into too much detail on the topic of digital marketing. Lets just summarize. Brand purchases an article from an author (for a few hundred dollars), the brand puts the story on their website, web traffic sells products (considerable monetary amounts) or brings in ad revenue, and/or shares on social media. Hundreds from all of the world visit the same campsites. The forest gets damaged from overuse. All for what? What is the price of pure untouched wilderness.

All this leaves people that love the outdoors and live it as a lifestyle, in an endless quest to find the next untouched location. Which leads me to my journeys over the last few years (even more so this year). Find locations with no bare ground in campsites from overuse, no campfire rings, most of the time no trail at all. That is pure wilderness!

I interpret the wilderness act as freezing and preserving the land as it was, in that moment in time long ago (when the Park was established). Over-use does not fall into that, when specific trails and campsites are getting slammed.

Going days without seeing another person. That is a wilderness experience!

Winter in Quinault
An untouched place on the river

Note: I understand why accessibility and getting visitors to visit these areas, is very important for the financial health of National Park's. This isn't about that. It's about wilderness being untouched and preserved.

Article by Barefoot Jake