Three years ago, I summited Mount Katahdin with my dad. We woke up incredibly early on an August morning and threw ourselves onto the Abol Trail, navigating massive boulders before the coffee and hot chocolate had kicked in. I didn’t raise my head from my muddy boots until we had reached the top with its scraggly wooden sign: “Mt. Katahdin: 5,269 feet.” My state seemed as big as the world. A collage of fields, roads, woods and rivers spread out below. It looked fragile from such a great height.

Alison Davis of Scarborough takes a photo of her daughters Maeve, 12, and Bridget, 14, after they hiked to Baxter Peak on Mount Katahdin on Aug. 4, 2019. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer, File

I am a student who has many years of hiking ahead of me. I want to keep exploring, searching, striving for ever-higher mountain peaks – and for that, Maine needs the Pine Tree Amendment. Amending the Maine Constitution in this way writes environmental protections into the highest state law and legally solidifies what would otherwise be empty words of “sustainability” and “action.” The amendment has a lens of equity too, as it would protect clean water, clean air and a healthy environment for all people.

The bill is currently in the Legislature with an upcoming public hearing. It will need two-thirds of both the Maine House and Senate to move forward.

Spring is on its way, and I think more and more these days about my time on Katahdin and the summer hiking to come. I hope that all young people, hikers, outdoor recreationalists and anyone who cares about the environment will join me in supporting the Pine Tree Amendment.

Anna Siegel

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