The lesson of ‘5 reasons why’: Finding your thing

Finding your thing can be as simple as finding places like this.

Finding your thing can be as simple as finding places like this.

I had a little fun over the last couple of weeks making three lists of “Five reasons why,” focusing on running, lifting and hiking. The last of those posts got some really great responses from dozens of readers on Facebook.

Looking back, it’s important to note that these three activities aren’t the only things I do that help me stay healthy and happy. They just happen to be the biggest.

I climb a little, though not nearly as much as I’d like. I’ve been known to ski some (poorly). I ride a bike almost daily, but nothing to serious — to and from work, or maybe an easy weekend cruise.

For others, it’s different. I’ve got plenty of friends who spend a bunch of time on the saddle, pedaling their way over long stretches of road or on gnarly dirt singletrack. They get just as much out of their bikes as I do on my runs.

Other friends enjoy water sports. They kayak local lakes and rivers, and that time on the river is the tonic of physical challenge and mental peace they need.

And even more buddies of mine climb. They find local crags, they travel to famous climbing hot spot, they clip on at a climbing gym — usually, it’s a combination of all three.

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I remember one friend of mine, a fella named Nathan, telling me that climbing changed him. He played sports and lifted like a fiend all the way through high school. But it’s when he moved west and discovered climbing that he found his place, so to speak. Climbing is where he’s made friends, where he’s conditioned his body, and where he’s discovered who he was as a man. It’s not that climbing in itself is a noble calling. But by facing the challenges of a big wall, a tricky problem or a burly mountain, he’s discovered strength of mind and body he didn’t know was there.

He found his thing, and his thing helped him grow to who he is now.

I’ll close this with another story, one I shared on Facebook the other night. It’s another deal where a guy found his thing, and in his words, it saved him.

The man in question is part of a running group I’m in. We got through doing a two-mile time trial, a workout we like to get in the week before a race. All of us have been getting faster and fitter under the guidance of a coach whose running experience goes back to his 20s as a collegiate athlete (he’s my age now, and can still hit 20 minutes or less in a 5K).

Anyway, I got to talking with this guy after the run. He told me that getting back into running saved him. I asked him, “How so?” And with that, he told me quite a story.

He said before joining the run group, he was 75 pounds overweight. He was working 16-hour days, and then heading straight from the office to the bars until closing time. The work stress, physical degradation and heavy drinking put him in a downward spiral that had him thinking he might be better off dead.

So he got help. He found a group of men who counseled and prayed with him. He stopped drinking and quit his job. And he took up running.

Months later, he’s centered. Fit. And getting pretty fast. Running gave him a healthy outlet, one that beat his body into shape and calmed a troubled mind.

He found his thing.

I’m sure this man, and Nathan, and any number of people I know could come up with their own list of “Five reasons why…” like I did.

The routines of our lives — work, home, and whatnot — can drain the life out of our days. Career, family, relationships and money can curse as much as they bless. It’s easy to get trapped into orbiting these things and lose who you are, who God intended you to be.

The point of the lists I made is to show how life, or God, or whatever it is that guides you, puts things in your path to help you along. We all deal with trouble. Everyone’s got problems. But what’s your outlet for all that angst? What tools do you have in your toolbox to handle it?

For me? I run. I lift. And I hike.

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What do you do? If you don’t know, I encourage you to step back, think hard and find your thing.

Did you miss those lists? Check out the reasons why I run, why I lift, and why I hike and let me know what you do.

Bob Doucette

Five reasons why I hike

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A walk in the woods. A trek in the hills. A gnarly ridge traverse that leads to an airy summit. Short or long, easy or hard — or even dangerous — the venerable hike is as old as humanity itself.

We’re one of those rare creatures that get around solely on two feet, and there is no more reliable form of transportation that putting one foot in front of the other. Whether it’s a familiar path on easy ground or something more adventurous, hiking can be just about anything.

I’ve been a hiker for awhile now. As a kid, I hiked to places where I liked to fish. I tromped through the woods to see what was there. And into adulthood, hiking has taken me to destinations I’d never have seen in a car, on a bike, or on TV. If you’ve got an explorer’s heart, you should be hiking.

For me, there are lots of reasons why I hike. Here are five of them…

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Because it’s good for my body. Hiking up and down hills and miles through woods is exercise. Yes, it’s not like doing sprints at the track or cranking out as many reps as you can at the gym. But a well-paced walk through natural terrain works your legs, back and core. Throw on a backpack and the “workout” becomes even more demanding. And if you’re doing it on steep inclines or higher elevations, it’ll beat you down nicely. A good day of hiking, repeated often, will get you in shape.

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Because it’s good for my mind. I spend enough time in a chair, at my desk, staring at a computer screen. And even more lounging around watching sports or the latest episode of “Game of Thrones.” Taking in all the messages, tweets, videos, memes and other bits of bytes on social media is akin to drinking through a digital fire hose. Our minds are under constant assault from work stress, manufactured images and artificial blatherscythe. A walk amongst the trees or over the hills for a few hours does wonders to clear my mind and allows me to really think about the world, or not think at all, if that’s what’s needed. Hiking is a good time to pray. Or just listen. The sights, sounds and smells of the woods are said to have tangible health benefits for your mind. I believe it.

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Because of the people I meet. Some of the coolest people I know I’ve met through hiking. These are folks who are easygoing, non-judgmental and curious about the world. Most of the time, they’re smart. Wise. Grounded. The connections you make with hikers are different than those you make at work, at church, or at the bar scene. Maybe it’s because we’re all looking for the same thing, I suppose. In any case, your hiking friends might end up being the best ones you have. And if not, they’ll still be some of the most interesting and enjoyable to be around.

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Because I can. Thank God I’m still mobile and can walk. Having that ability is akin to having the hottest sports car you can imagine. You wouldn’t own that car and never drive it, right? That’s how I feel about hiking. If I can get out there and hike a short loop or go backpacking for days, I’m going to do it. My health and mobility is a gift, and to not use it would be a waste. If your choice is to use it or lose it, is that really a choice at all?

Because of the awesome places I see. Like this:

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Or this:

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Or this:

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Or any number of incredible forests, burly mountains, scenic vistas or jaw-dropping sunrises. You can live your whole life in the ‘burbs and see the same thing every day, and not much will change, even with the seasons. Or you can lace up your boots, grab a pack and find a trail and see where it leads. We humans crave a little adventure. When you’re talking about hiking, the adventure is ahead of you, one step at a time.

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If you’re a hiker, what do you like about it? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Also, check out my previous posts, Five reasons why I run and Five reasons why I lift. These have been fun!

(And thanks to Noel Johnson and Brady Lee for some of the photos featured here.)

Bob Doucette

Five reasons why I lift

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I’ve been a gym rat most of my adult life. Weights became a thing for me at age 17, and my affinity for the iron hasn’t waned.

Many people play around with weight machines, or tinker with free weights. Others shy away, bothered by the noise real lifting creates, and maybe the personalities a weight room attracts. Not me. I’ve never felt self-conscious about lifting when the real big boys were around. I’m not the biggest, strongest dude around, but that doesn’t bother me. I just do my thing.

But I often hear about how maybe I should do other things. That people of my age shouldn’t lift heavy weights. Or that being a gym rat is too “indoorsy,” and how you can get all that strength training doing stuff outside (sorry, but you can’t). And more than a few of my female friends have heard endless dronings about how they shouldn’t lift because they don’t want to get big.

Well, you can (and should) do resistance training deep into old age (way past my age for sure). And ladies, those barbells and dumbbells will do you a lot of good without making you look like a linebacker.

So in the spirit of my last post, here are five reasons why I lift…

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Because it’s a stress-reliever. Had a rough day? Someone tick you off? Get under a bar or pick up some iron and take out your aggression in the gym. The controlled violence of the lift and endorphin rush when you’re done might leave you wrecked when you leave, but you will feel awesome. It sure beats eating your problems, punching your boss or drinking your woes away.

Because it makes me a much healthier human being. Strength training builds up your muscles, and when done right, increases mobility, stamina and athleticism. A weak body is often a sicker body. Strong ones tend to stay healthier for much longer, and can leave you active and capable well into old age.

Because being strong is useful. A powerful body can do more things than a weak one can. That’s not an opinion. It’s an objective reality. It goes beyond opening pickle jars, too. The physical labor you can do, the punishment you can endure, the ability to take care of business in a dark alley — all these things are made easier when you’re strong. Strength isn’t the only factor, but it’s a damn important one. When it comes to the physical tasks and challenges you face, being strong is more useful than being weak.

Because I can. Sort of like what I wrote about running, I’ve been given one body and one life. If lifting heavy things can make that life better, I should do it. And if I see a heavy thing I want to move and have that ability, I want to because I can. Not everyone has that option, but I do. Might as well use it.

Because there are few things that will make you feel as boss as lifting something big. Looking for a confidence booster? Set a goal to lift a certain amount of weight you cannot do now. Train for it. And then do it. It may sound superficial, but when you accomplish that goal, it will make you wonder what else you can do once you set your mind to it. That’s how I feel every time I load a bunch of weight on the bar, walk up to it, and pick it up off the ground. And best yet, the process of getting to that point will leave you stronger, healthier and more mentally disciplined than when you started. There’s a lot to like about all of that.

Do you lift? What are your reasons for hitting the iron? Holler in the comments.

Bob Doucette

Five reasons why I run

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If you run much, you get a lot of interesting questions and statements about it.

“Man, I don’t think I could run a mile!”

“Dude, I don’t even drive that far!”

“The only time you’ll see me running is if getting away from a bear…”

That, plus many in the medical field — and even more outside of it — saying it’s bad for your knees. Personally, that last opinion is hogwash for most people, but that’s another topic for another day. The fact is, most people don’t like to run because it’s hard, it’s not as glitzy as other activities, or whatever.

Yup, running is not for everyone, and that included me up until about five years ago. But I took it up as a newer, cheaper form of fitness and I’ve learned a few things along the way. So here’s my list of why I run…

It’s good for me. Whether I’m doing a long, steady run, or plowing up hills, or burning up the track, running is good for my body. It burns calories, improves cardiovascular health and leaves me, physically speaking, better off. I stay leaner and healthier if I’m faithful to running at least four times a week. I also get sick less often and, believe it or not, improve athletic performance in other areas. The post-run endorphin rush perks up my day. In short, I’m a healthier person because of running.

It clears my head. Whether I’m getting in a quick two miles or forging ahead for twenty, running has a way of shutting down the noise of the outside world and bringing peace to my spirit. The routine of it is meditative. Many people pray while they run, or find some other form of calming themselves by focusing on the task at hand. There are plenty of distractions, devices and crises that will leave most people frazzled and tired. The antidote is some alone time on the run. Trust me on that one.

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It gets me outside. I love being in the outside air. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot, cold, windy, cloudy, sunny or whatever. Aside from the occasional treadmill workout, all my runs are outside. I get to know my neighborhood, my city, and my trails by lacing up and heading down the path, not by staring at the TV, my phone or otherwise planted on the couch.

Because I can. There are people who, because of their health, or injuries, or whatever, cannot run. But I’m able-bodied. I run long because I can. I run big hills because I can. I run fast (sometimes, sort of) because I can. And if I find myself lacking in any of these areas, I keep running until I can do it. I’ve been given one body and one life, so if there are things I can do that are awesome but choose not to, what a waste that would be. Carpe diem, right?

Its opens a new world. I’ve met awesome people through running. I’ve experienced the excitement of a race, the newness of a trail, and the secret spots of my city that I’d have missed if I only saw them through the window of a car. My world would be a lot smaller and far less rich had I not become a runner.

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Why do you run? I’d love to hear it in the comments.

Bob Doucette

A flatlander’s guide to high country adventure

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As spring takes hold, a bunch of us from the flatlands are having dreams of alpine vistas and Rocky Mountain summits. But we often forget that there is a lot that goes into being ready for the challenges that come with altitude.

I live at less than 800 feet. So every time I think about heading west, I know there are things I need to do before marching to the top of a high peak.

So that’s what this is about. It’s not like I’m a pro or anything, but I’ve spent the last 13 years bagging peaks in the Colorado and New Mexico high country from late spring to early fall. I’ve learned a bit — mostly through trial and error, and from my mistakes. So that’s what I want to pass along to you.

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BEFORE THE TRIP

People who live at higher elevations have an advantage over the rest of us because they have more red blood cells — the agents that carry oxygen to the rest of the body — flowing through their bodies than us. And unless you plan on spending several weeks at altitude, your body won’t be able to match that red blood cell production in time to fit inside your vacation plans. You can acclimate some, but not that fast. So extra care has to be taken in terms of physical preparation. With that in mind…

Get yourself in shape. There are a lot of ways to do this, but I’d suggest a few basics. Plan and complete some big hikes, preferably in hilly areas. On some of these hikes, carry a backpack that will be the same size and weight as the one you plan to use in the mountains. Break in those boots if they’re new. Plan on hikes that will last as long (in number of hours) as you think it will take on your trip. I’d also recommend doing some regular cardio at least four times a week — running, cycling, swimming, stairmaster — yes to any or all of that. And sprinkle in some strength training. A rugged frame and a strong heart/set of lungs will go a long way toward helping you enjoy your alpine adventures rather than just suffer through them. Ideally, these are things you should be doing at least a few  months out from your planned trip. If you want more information on that, check out this post I wrote last year.

Test your gear. Wear and use the clothes, footwear and backpack you plan to use, and make sure the fit is good. Same goes with any tents, stoves, electronics or anything else you might use or depend on. Be familiar with how everything works, and adjust accordingly if something’s not right. Having a gear failure on the trail because of your unfamiliarity with it is a potential disaster that is entirely preventable.

Ask for advice. Got any friends who are knowledgeable about the high country? Hit ’em up. You can also find good information in online forums and through social media. People are willing to help. A question you have that goes unasked is a mystery you might not be able to afford when you’re in the backcountry.

Plan and study your routes. Again, there is a lot of information online about trails, forests, peaks, etc. Plenty of guide books, too. You don’t have to kill all spontaneity, but you should be familiar with the places you’re going, the distances you’ll travel, and the type of terrain, obstacles and hazards you’ll face. And let someone know where you are going and when you intend to return.

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WHEN YOU’RE THERE

Give yourself some time. I’ve done the thing where you drive in one day, and then a day later go hit a 14,000-foot peak. It can be done, but I don’t advise it. Rather, spend a few days at a lower elevation town or city and do some practice hikes on smaller hills. After a couple of days, head into the high country, and give yourself another day or so, embarking in acclimatization hikes. After a few days, your body will be more prepared for the task at hand.

Drink plenty of water. The Rockies are fairly dry, and because your respiration will be at an increased rate, you’ll dehydrate much faster — even in a city like Denver, at 5,280 feet — than you do at home. It’s subtle at first, and you won’t realize you’re drying out… until it’s too late. So it’s not a bad thing to be sipping water regularly throughout the day, even if you’re just chilling out. When you’re on the trail, your hydration needs will increase. A 4-8 hour day hike might mean you take 2-3 liters of water with you, and try to drink as much of that as you can. Otherwise, you’ll get nasty headaches, and possibly the beginnings of altitude sickness.

Pack right. Make sure you have enough food for your hike, and then a little more. Bring the right supplies and tools in your pack, with special detail on what you might need in an emergency. If you’re wondering what that looks like, check this link for the 10 essentials. Make sure your clothing is designed to handle a variety of weather conditions your might face.

Even if you’re from another mountain state, do not underestimate what elevation does to a hike or climb. Plenty of peak baggers and hikers hail from states with mountains that have serious elevation profiles, but aren’t as high as the Rockies. An example: I hiked Mount LeConte in Tennessee, which at various trailheads will give you 3,000 feet of elevation gain or more. Many of the peaks in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming are similar in their base-to-summit profile. But I found the going much easier in the Appalachians than in the Rockies, even when approaching LeConte’s summit, solely because of how much thinner the air is in the Rockies. Remember that the trailheads at most peaks in the Rockies start at elevations higher the tops of any mountain on the East Coast, as well as most mountains in every western state except California (the Sierras pose their own challenges, as do some of the big ones in the Cascades). The level of exertion and complications from altitude will be much different than they are in the Smokies, the White Mountains, or just about anywhere else in the Lower 48.

Watch the weather. A bluebird day in the summer can turn into a nightmare of lighting, hail and wind in a hurry. Storms can form right over your head with little warning. Start your hikes early (pre-dawn is good, and even earlier if the route is long) and be heading down the mountain well before noon. Check forecasts closely, and don’t be surprised to see snowfall on the bookend weeks of the summer. Fall and spring hikes and climbs can be even more touch-and-go when it comes to snowstorms. Perfect conditions one day can give way to blizzards. On my early July attempt of Longs Peak last summer, snow high on the mountain fell the night before our ascent and turned route conditions into a mess of sloppy snow and ice, forcing us to abort the climb. Now imagine getting caught in the middle of that, while on exposed, steep terrain. Respect for high country weather changes is a must.

Respect the land and its permanent residents. Stay on the trail and don’t stomp all over delicate alpine tundra. If you bring a dog, keep it under control and don’t let it chase after wildlife. Camp 100 feet or more away from streams. If established fire pits are available, camp fires are fine — provided the conditions are not prone to forest fires and camp fires are allowed by park and/or forestry officials. Haul out your trash, and don’t burn it. Only use deadfall wood for fires, make sure all fires are completely extinguished before you leave a fire pit unattended. If you have any doubts at all about whether you are allowed (established wilderness areas do not permit camp fires) or should build a camp fire, skip it. Leave the trail and your campsite in as good or better condition than how you found it. And do not feed wildlife. Our food is not good for them, and feeding wild animals conditions them to see humans as a food source.

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So those are some ideas. Good advice can be found at this link. And most of all, enjoy your time in the high country.

Bob Doucette

A river, an election and a game-changer for Tulsa

The Arkansas River, just south of downtown Tulsa.

The Arkansas River, just south of downtown Tulsa.

Elections on Tuesday night may have been a game-changer for the city of Tulsa.

A number of things were on the ballot, but one issue in particular — more than $500 million for economic development — has the possibility of putting Tulsa on the national map of outdoor recreation.

The proposition, which earned more than 60 percent approval from voters, does a number of things. Two of those really stand out.

The first — two dams on the Arkansas River to “put water in the river,” or basically create a couple of small reservoirs that should provide consistent bodies of water.

The second — $7.6 million to acquire land for the expansion of the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area.

Let’s start with the dams. As it stands, water flowing in the river through Tulsa is at the mercy of how much is released from the upstream Keystone Dam. Keystone provides flood control while creating a large lake for recreation and water supply. Keystone also has a hydroelectric power station. All of these purposes affect how much water is released downstream. Sometimes the river is full, sometimes it’s mostly sand bars. The latter is more common than not, and aside from fishing, there isn’t much you can do with a partially drained river.

Creating larger bodies of water on the river offers a number of possibilities. To see what that looks like, all you have to do is drive 90 minutes down the turnpike to Oklahoma City and observe what has happened there.

A smaller river — the North Canadian — flows by downtown Oklahoma City. OKC is drier than Tulsa, and in its natural state, the Canadian is more of a prairie trickle than anything else. But as part of a large sales tax package passed in the 1990s, a dam system was built that turned the dusty Canadian — dubbed the Oklahoma River — into an inviting stretch of calm, flat water within walking distance of Oklahoma City’s downtown entertainment district.

The Oklahoma River project created an entirely new outdoor recreation culture out of nothing. A couple of universities started rowing teams. A number of boathouses were built. Rowing, kayaking and other water sports began to flourish. An Olympic training center was established in what is now called the Boathouse District. Regional and national competitions happen in Oklahoma City. And very soon, an addition to the river project — a whitewater kayaking course — will open. The Boathouse District has turned into the next hot draw for Oklahoma City. Most importantly, it’s exposing people to a new form of outdoor recreation that should help future generations of Oklahomans lead active, healthier lives.

These are the types of things that happen in mountain communities or seaside cities, not in the middle of the Southern Plains. And yet there it is.

The potential for something similar — or even greater — happening in Tulsa is very real. The Arkansas River is considerably larger than the Canadian, and the prospect of a couple of large flatwater sections of the in town creates the possibility of all sorts of water sports taking off.

Outdoor recreation as a focus of Arkansas River development is the city’s best bet. We’ve seen what’s happened in Oklahoma City. Farther east, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, leaders there took advantage of their river and the surrounding hills and mountains to create a vibrant outdoor culture that has become a huge part of that city’s economy. Chattanooga has been so successful that it earned Outside Magazine’s top city in the U.S. in 2015, the second time it’s won that honor.

Oklahoma lacks the topography of the Smokies, but Tulsa is in a position to compete. The dams would be anchored by A Gathering Place for Tulsa — the huge, $350 million park now being constructed along the river — and Turkey Mountain, widely recognized as one of the best mountain biking  destinations in the country. All of it will be connected via an extensive River Parks trail system that already exists on both sides of the river. The southernmost dam will be close to the Oklahoma Aquarium, a substantial facility that is a good-sized draw in its own right.

The city would be wise to focus on outdoor recreation and resist the temptation to line the banks of a newly full river with box stores, apartment complexes and subdivisions. Those would be the easy things, but would lack the pull that the river could have as a quality of life asset focused on outdoor recreation. The opportunity is huge.

This vista was once destined to be a shopping center parking lot. It's now going to be protected, wild park land.

This vista was once destined to be a shopping center parking lot. It’s now going to be protected, wild park land.

A second, smaller portion of this project — the $7.6 million for Turkey Mountain — dovetails nicely with the river dam projects. It closes the circle on a drama that began in 2014 when outlet mall developer Simon Properties announced it would build a shopping center a Turkey Mountain’s western edge. The plan faced stiff community opposition, so much so that it moved on to another location.

The land in question was still in limbo, so two community benefactors — the George Kaiser Family Foundation and QuikTrip Corp. — plunked down the money to take the acreage in question off the market. Passage of Tuesday’s proposal will pay back those benefactors (their purchase was basically a loan) and fold that land into the River Parks system. There will be enough money left over for more improvements at Turkey Mountain, and perhaps (this is speculation on my part) the purchase of more, adjacent land.

This  is great news for outdoor enthusiasts in the Tulsa area. Turkey Mountain has long been a favorite place to go for mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers, equestrians and nature lovers. Its popularity has grown over the years and is increasingly a destination for families. Its expansion is a public commitment to maintaining and growing the value of urban green spaces, a forward-thinking concept that is at the root of why the mall plan was rejected and why, now, Turkey Mountain’s trail system has become a priority. (Future prospects for Chandler Park, with all the trail amenities of Turkey Mountain, plus rock climbing and bouldering areas, look good as well.)

Tulsa’s current economy shows that dependence on the energy industry can be risky. Economic diversification should be a priority going forward. By adopting an outdoor recreation strategy that involves the river, the dams, and Turkey Mountain, Tulsa can transform itself into a draw for visitors, and even a place where people and companies want to be.

Was Tuesday’s election really a game-changer? It depends how the river corridor is managed from this point forward. But if the city plays its cards right, maybe Outside Magazine looks at us for its top cities list.

Bob Doucette

The connection between the land, its rivers and all of us

I was scrolling through a social media feed the other day when I saw a map that blew me away.

I’m a bit of a map geek, so I clicked the graphic to give it a closer look. It was posted by The Nature Conservancy.

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What it shows are the various regions that make up the Mississippi River watershed. We all know that the Mississippi is huge, one of the world’s great rivers. And yes, a lot of us know that there are a number of big rivers that feed into it. But seeing it on a map like this is a great visual that illustrates how much of our country is connected by this amazing river system. From New York to the east, Montana and Idaho to the west, Canada to the north and all the way to the Gulf of Mexico via Louisiana to the south. Thirty-one states in the U.S. and two Canadian provinces are part of this watershed.

Even at great distances, we are all connected.

I live within a few hundred yards from the banks of the Arkansas River. The river begins in the heart of the Sawatch Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, getting its start atop mountains like this one, Mount Shavano, just outside of Poncha Springs (the actual headwaters are farther north, more toward Leadville, but I digress)

The summit of Mount Shavano, Colorado.

The summit of Mount Shavano, Colorado.

From snowmelt and rain runoff at these heights, the river cuts through valleys and gorges through Colorado before beginning its slower, wider meanderings through Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas before emptying its contents into the Mississippi River far to the east.

Here’s what the river looks like about five miles south of me right now.

The Arkansas River, as seen from its west bank in Tulsa.

The Arkansas River, as seen from its west bank in Tulsa.

Hard to imagine that the snows atop that 14,000-foot peak in the first photo will eventually roll on by in my hometown hundreds of miles away. But that’s exactly what happens, more or less.

This is a story told over a huge swath of the country. Along with the Arkansas, the Missouri, Red, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, fed from mountain streams in the Rockies and the Appalachians, make up this sizable network of waterways. Snowmelt from the north woods of Minnesota finds its way to the bayous outside New Orleans.

If there is a point to be made, it’s that the things we do locally don’t stop at our doorstep. Decisions made in Montana and Indiana can have consequences in Missouri and Louisiana. Aside from the impressive scale the watershed represents, there is the realization that what we do upstream affects a lot of people downstream.

Anyway, just some food for thought. If you want to learn more about the America’s Watershed Initiative, click this link.

Bob Doucette