Wilderness is Good Medicine
Author: teddygirl | Tuesday November 13, 2007
The following is from Campaign for America's Wilderness, an organization that is working to achieve lasting protection for threatened wild lands.
Citing health-related reasons, more than 100 West Virginia health care providers have voiced their support for permanent protection of the special wild places remaining in the Monongahela National Forest (the "Mon").
“Healthcare professionals are among the strongest advocates of exercise and a healthy, stress-reduced lifestyle,” said Dr. Mary Wimmer, a professor of Biochemistry at the West Virginia University School of Medicine. “They see the benefits across the board for people of all ages getting out and using their legs, lungs, hearts, and senses, whether for a run up a mountain or a stroll along a forest path. The wild public lands of the Mon are some of the best and most enjoyable places to do these and many other outdoor activities.”
That’s one of several reasons why healthcare providers are backing the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition’s proposal to protect the Mon’s remaining wild places through Congressional designation as wilderness. A public letter of support notes that “clean air, clean water, physical exercise, relief of stress, anxiety and other pressures of daily life, and development of self confidence and self esteem are important for maintaining and improving the physical and mental health and well-being of West Virginians, as well as helping prevent a variety of chronic diseases that afflict the health of many of our citizens. The undeveloped wild lands of our state, especially the public lands accessible within the Mon, can provide all of the above health benefits.”
Currently, just one half of one percent of the state is designated Wilderness, with less than nine percent of the Mon permanently protected against interstate power-line corridors, industrial energy expansion, logging, road building, and other developments.
WV healthcare providers join a diverse, widespread and growing chorus urging additional wilderness designation for the Mon, which includes nearly 150 businesses across the state, the WV Council of Churches, Mountaineer Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Pocahontas and Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureaus, the towns of Lewisburg, Shepherdstown and Renick, and many other organizations and individuals.
For more information, visit Campaign for America's Wilderness' website.