I have some mixed feelings about the Gorge right now. I love it and I hate it at the same time. You ask, "but Brian, how can you hate such a beautiful place?". The answer isn't a simple one, and it can also be a selfish one. The Columbia River Gorge is an extraordinary marvel of Creation. The river, the waterfalls, the trees, the vast amount of natural beauty in one place, and the serenity that it can offer makes it a desirable location to see and experience... it's the serenity where the hate comes in.
Imagine if Disneyland offered you a one day pass to their park and said that only you and a few of your friends would be allowed in during your visit. Tempting? Heck yes it is! Who wouldn't want the Happiest Place on Earth to them selves for a day? Well that's how I feel about the Gorge. Selfish, I know and am the first to admit it. Believe me when I say, I want everyone to see the Gorge, I want everyone to enjoy it's beauty, and I don't want it to be a private sanctuary (well maybe a little). But as of late it has become, what my fellow photographer buddy TJ Thorne calls, Disneygorge (check out some of his recent posts to see what he means).
As of recent days all of my outings to this wonderful place have been met with the utmost of disappointment. Dog poop in bags left on the side of trails, graffiti etched into sign posts, initials etched into the lichen, plastic bottles floating down once pristine streams, cars parked in the bushes, and people... oh so many people. I fear that the generation of kids that I'm raising will not be able to enjoy this beautiful place with their kids one day.
This photo attached to this post is of the log jam that you have to climb over to get into the Oneonta Gorge, one, if not my favorite places in this area. I post it because I overheard one of the visitors exclaim "I wish someone would come in and cut these logs out to make it easier to get in!" Well I for one hope that the logs make it harder.
I write this because I know many of you love this place too. I also write this for those that haven't been but want to go. It's a plea, a plea to sense and understanding. What you are going to see or what you want to go see is nature. Nature. Not dog poop stuffed in a bag, not someones initials carved in a stone or tree, not the Pepsi bottle floating in the river, nor the remnants of somebody's lunch left by a tree stump. Please, please, please treat this place with respect, compassion and courtesy for the next visitor.
#crg #thegorge #pnw #nature