Frank Vitale was one of the panelists at last Thursday’s MWA “Wilderness Speaker Series” presentation. Here’s a transcript of his remarks.
Nicely done; recommended reading . . .
OPENING STATEMENTS (INTRODUCTION)
It was probably 20 years ago I planned a pack trip out of Cave Mountain up in the Teton drainage. Our destination was “as far as we could go in about 8-10 days.” We had to travel over Route Creek Pass and I had never been on that trail before. So I decided to give Roland Cheek a call. He told me to “Come on over and bring your map. It just so happens Route Creek Pass is one of my favorite trips in that part of the Wilderness.” So after a great visit and a drink or two, Roland marked on my map the best places to camp with good water and good grass. He didn’t steer us wrong.
I don’t think I ever told you how much I enjoyed reading your newspaper column, “Wild Trails & Tall Tales,” from back in the early 80s, so while I’m thinking of it now I just want to say it’s an honor to sit on the same side of the table with you.
WILDERNESS & POLITICS (MESSAGE TO THE YOUTH)
In our discussion about wilderness, politics always seems to come up. It’s sad, but true, but anything in life that’s worthwhile never comes easy. This is also true for wilderness.
The wild country we have today is by no accident. It had to be fought for. At time things got ugly. Wilderness and politics are wrapped together and I suppose it will always be that way.
But spending nearly my whole life in wild country I guess I’ve learned to let the heart speak first. It was not always like that, and when I was younger it was easy to get mad as hell and frustrated.
But youth being no easy keeper, the words for wilderness come a whole lot easier. I would tell the young folks that everybody needs a hero, a mentor; someone to look up to. My advice for you young folks is to find your heroes and learn their stories.
From early on I had many heroes. Way too many to even have time to mention. Some of my heroes are even probably sitting in this room tonight.
So I will tell you just a few of mine and briefly tell their stories…