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|MEMBERS IN MOTION: PAUL SANFORD|
Meet Paul Sanford! Learn about this longtime AORE member, former board member, and current Access & Permitting Committee volunteer.
National Director of Recreation Policy, The Wilderness Society
AORE Member (6 years), Access & Permitting Committee Member (6 years), Board member (2 years)
When did you first fall in love with nature/why?
I have always enjoyed being outside. However, my love for wild places did not emerge until around my 30th birthday. In the early 90s, I took up day hiking and then worked my way up to backpacking. After a few shorter trips, I did an epic backpacking trip in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks in California in 1994. To this day, I am convinced that my hiking companion was part bighorn sheep. At 10,000 feet, it was all I could do to keep up with him. However, once I adapted to the elevation, I realized that I was incredibly fortunate to be able to visit these beautiful places and enjoy these spectacular vistas free from roads, street lights, and power lines. At one point, sitting next to the trail and looking at the Sierra Crest, I was overcome with a deep sense of peace and contentment. That feeling convinced me that people have a connection to nature that is deeply rooted in the oldest parts of our brains. Urban migrations and the flood of technology may be preventing many of us from exploring this connection. However, that connection is there. It is up to us as outdoor leaders and advocates to encourage people to explore this connection, and to help them explore it if they ask for it. Later in the 1990s, I tried paddling, and really found my home. I love being on the water in a canoe or a kayak. I started out in whitewater, transitioned to coastal kayaking, and am now trying to redevelop my whitewater skills.
Check out Paul's advocacy work with newly introduced legislation in the Senate called the SOAR Act, which will increase access to public lands for all and improve the ability of AORE members to plan and execute their programs. [Read More]
Categories: Advocacy, Career Advancement, Committee Update, Membership, Networking, Professional Development