Back home, an article in the Az Republic stated that Phoenix was featured in National Geographic as one of the best hiking cities in the country….joining Philadelphia and New York City! Following up, I found both New York and Washington D.C. on the list, along with more obvious urban areas like Portland and Seattle. The article features 15 major cities in the country that have managed to preserve parks with hiking trails and serene natural settings for their millions of residents, mostly through state park systems. That news cheered me considerably, along with another fact. Our two main outings in the D.C. area were a hike on Theodore Roosevelt Island, a green paradise on the Potomac River; and a stroll around bucolic Mount Vernon, George Washington’s sprawling estate. And in Manhattan, after an hour or so window shopping in Soho we retreated to the shady oasis of Central Park. On a sunny Sunday afternoon the park was vibrant with families, dogs and street performers – everyone savoring the crisp air, the breeze in the trees and the soft green grass.
“To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.” ~Theodore Roosevelt, seventh annual message, 3 December 1907