Letters With Jimmy

From me to The Honorable Jimmy Carter:

Dear Mr. Carter,

Over several months during my 8th grade year, a friend and I retreated on our lunch period to a far corner of the junior high school campus (overlooking the graveyard across the street). There I would explain – in exacting detail, like a Faulknerian narrator – everything I could remember about the camp in Sequoia National Forest I’d attended over three previous summers, while we ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. As mundane as that anecdote likely reads, it perfectly defines why I’m writing to you decades later. I believe that sharing our defining experiences in nature is nearly as vital as having those experiences, a symbiotic relationship between action and reflection.

Sigurd F. Olson said, “Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium.” You probably considered that quote (in some form; or something like it) before preserving the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 1978, the portion of Superior National Forest that Olson advocated to be protected for 50 years.

To get to my point, I started and maintain a blog called Campfire Tales (campfiretales.co) as a forum for discussing our experiences in national parks. If we can’t be out in nature, the next best thing is thinking about it, right? Knowing what an enormous contribution you have made to the preservation of millions of acres of national parks, I write this letter to ask if you would write something I could share on my fledgling blog – anything from what it meant to you to preserve the parks, to a recollection of fond or formative wilderness memories from your childhood, to reminiscing your most recent (or any) visit to a national park.

Anything you choose to share would be deeply appreciated. Thank you in advance for considering this request. Thank you in perpetuity for your astounding (and continuing) service to our beloved country.


“Camp Host Chad” – Campfire Tales

From Jimmy Carter to me:

Jimmy Carter Response

To Be Continued

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