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Monday, May 30, 2011

D-Day Anniversary, 2011

Update June 6th, 2011. I asked Phil and the other members of American Alps to not blog, and leave this blog as the headliner for the past week to commemorate Memorial Day and remember our countrymen in uniform. Much has been happening in the great outdoors, with vehicle access on forest service roads at the top of the list. We will address that tomorrow. For now, let's remember again D-Day, sacrifice and all who help us celebrate National Parks and lands protection...

First, a sincere and solemn thank you to all who have given their lives, given their bodies, and given their energy willingly so that we can even consider creating and supporting National Parks and Wilderness.

American Alps Legacy Project is really all about the Legacy. The efforts of many regular people in the 1950s led to the creation of North Cascades National Park, The Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, The Pasayten Wilderness Area, and many other treasures of our incredible Pacific Northwest.

One of the main movers in lands protection was a couple from the midwest, Margaret and Joe Miller.

So what of Memorial Day, American Alps and Legacy?
It's not often an organization can claim a war hero as a member of the board of directors, but that's exactly what the NCCC had in Joe Miller. Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote upon Joe's passing a couple years ago. Note we finally got Joe's remains to Cascade Pass this past summer (see Summer/Fall edition of The Wild Cascades).

March 28,, 2008
I went to Tahoma National Cemetary today to pay respects to a true American hero: Joseph W. Miller. Joe served our country in the 1st Battalion of the 20th Engineering Combat Regiment--a combat engineering battalion that first landed at Casablanca and directly engaged Rommel at Kasserine Pass in North Africa. Many of Joe's mates died clearing mines and building the road that enabled the US and Brits to acheive victory there. Then the 20th hit Yellow Beach closely E of Licata on Sicily. Joe helped Patton reach Messina first. Then it was on to Omaha Beach, where a landing craft directly in front of Joe's was hit by an 88 and he watched as his comrades disintegrated in front of him. Joe's unit cut through tank traps and mines, and secured one of THE roads that allowed so many Brits, Canadians and US to escape the meatgrinder of those beachheads. Joe and his mates literally built the podium on which the generals stood to celebrate the liberation of Paris. Joe secured the road at Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge. Joe's was the first unit to enter Leipzig, and later shook hands with Russians as the forces linked in Czechoslovakia.

But Joe would be quick to tell you the greatest victory of his life was helping create North Cascades National Park, and saving Big Beaver Valley from flooding and chainsaws. You see, the reason I was there to pay respects to Joseph W. Miller is that above all he believed preserving our glorious wildlands was his primary mission--he was what some would denigrate as a tree-hugger. Joe was on the board of the North Cascades Conservation Council. Joe and his lovely wife Margaret worked for years volunteering with the National Park to catalog as many lifeforms and ecosystems as possible. They stood before Congress to testify in defense of the North Cascades. Talk about homeland security.

Big Beaver valley, North Cascades National Park. The entire lower portion of the valley (out of sight behind rocky ridge coming down from Mt. Prophet on the left) is still outside National Park status and full protection and recognition of what's really important to our way of life.

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