Saturday, January 21, 2012

Reason to hike with kids No. 7: These places may not be there when our kids are grown

2009 Station Fire
Continued urbanization, overuse by an expanding population, and climate change all likely mean many wilderness spots will look quite different in a quarter century. Even though most of the places you’ll hike are protected, human activity certainly will change them.

That was never so clear to parent Mike C. of Los Angeles than after the 2009 Station Fire, which destroyed nearly half of the Angeles National Forest: “My son and I had spent the entire summer hiking its trails, from pine-covered mountaintops to desert canyons, from trails that overlook the entire L.A. sprawl to remote fire lookout towers.

"For some reason, I always thought the forest would remain like that forever. In a few short days, a fire swept over every trail we walked that summer, leaving it all a barren, ash-covered wasteland. It’ll take 60 years for the forest to look again like that summer we hiked it.”

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.