Small town, doesn’t mean small thinking.
A Place to Call Home
Mt. Adams Country is home to communities of loggers and ranchers, organic dairy farmers and orchardists, and businesses and agencies based in most things imaginable. It is also home to the ancestral lands of the Yakama peoples and continues to serve tribal members who harvest salmon, and gather roots and huckleberries. It is a place of small town rodeos and fairs that celebrate our rural roots and traditions, and of small schools with teacher-student ratios and outdoor laboratories that are the envy of our urban neighbors.
This is also a place where everyone knows one another on a first name basis, where neighbors and acquaintances become like family in times of need, and where “thriving” and “peace and quiet” just might not be paradoxical.
A Time of Opportunity
But what created much of this is no longer. And the tides of change, the demographic trends, real estate values, and the inevitable fact that small towns in beautiful places eventually become discovered, do not bode well for the “community” as we know it.
In response, we can throw our hands in the air and complain bitterly. Or we can engage and welcome newcomers, inviting them into a process and tapping them for the knowledge they bring, as they are most likely drawn to our community by the same things that keep us here. And hopefully, with our newfound diversity and resources, we can improve upon the resiliency of our communities, just as we hope the same for the forests in which we work.
A Collaborative Effort
Working with community in an a revitalization effort may be one of the most difficult things we do at Mt. Adams Resource Stewards. Every community has its fractures and splits, its “in” groups and outlaws. There are likely as many perspectives on what makes sense for a community like Glenwood as there are people living here, and due to that, we believe strongly in maintaining a transparent and inclusive process.