Standing at the southern tip of Dominica on the Cachacrou isthmus, looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. The Caribbean Sea is directly behind me.
From the P17 lot in Wakefield, I followed snowshoe trail #72 towards Lac Brown and Lac Carman, then trail #71 passed Lac des Sources, and on to trail #70 leading to Healey Cabin. While enjoying a quick lunch and the wood fire at the cabin it started to snow. Returned to P17 in gently falling snow on trail #50 (a portion of the Trans-Canada Trail), trail #52 and finally trail #53.
I reckon it was a 21 km hike it total.
This was the title of the book written by George Perkins Marsh in 1864. Not an instant bestseller, but now regarded as one of the first discussions in North America of how human activity could have a cumulative and destructive effect on the environment.
Written during an era in which the prevalent Judeo-Christian thought justified human dominion over nature, Marsh challenged his contemporaries, and continues to challenge us 150 years on, to reconsider the use and management of the environment. His work influenced the American conservation movement at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and offered a different way to measure progress or development. Today, we are all familiar with the term underdeveloped, but is there such a thing as a society being over developed?
Thoughts to ponder as I watch the sun permeate the forest at the trail head to the summit of Giant Mountain in the Adirondacks. I had been introduced to the writings of Marsh the previous night, in the ‘Adirondack Reader‘, picked off the bookshelf of the superb Keene Valley Hostel.
“The Adirondack forest should remain, as far as possible, in its primitive condition, at once a museum for the instruction of the student, a garden for the recreational of the nature lover, and an asylum where indigenous tree, and humble plant that loves the shade, and fins and fowl and four-footed beast may dwell and perpetuate their kind, in the enjoyment of such imperfect protection as the laws of a people jealous of restraint can afford them.”
George Perkins Marsh, 1864
For more on the life of George Perkins Marsh, visit the entry at Encyclopedia of Earth.