A Fun-Loving Guide to the Natural World for Kids and Adults

Secret Wildlands

For those of us who love to explore natural places, we’re often trying to find locations where we can wander without seeing any other humans. It’s not that there aren’t some wonderful parks to explore, but sometimes we want to get off the well-travelled paths and leave our tracks among the footprints of otter, bear, opossum, and coyote.

With such a quest in mind, we stopped in at our local DNR office (your country or state should have a similar wildlife management agency), and after establishing a rapport with one of the rangers, he sat us down to show us on a map where his favorite wild places were.

This knowledge in hand, we ventured out to explore old growth trees, high cliffs, waterfalls, and glacial ridges — all of which were unknown to most hikers. In all, we have five new places to adventure in, and it feels like we’ve been given access to our own private national parks.

If you’re looking for new places to adventure, stop at your local wildlife agency and see if you can get some clues as to where there are government lands, industry-owned lands, or private lands enrolled in government programs. Many places seem ‘landlocked’ on a map (they don’t have any public access), but are actually accessible if you ask how. You’re sure to find some great new realms to explore.

Happy Adventuring!


10 Responses to “Secret Wildlands”

  1. What a great idea! Thanks for the tip. I wish you happy wandering in wonderful places.

  2. Hello Jackie!

    Thanks for the great wishes — we return them to you wholeheartedly!

  3. What a great idea! I love how you point out the importance and benefit of establishing a rapport with people who have knowledge and experience which you don’t.

    Congratulations to your new-found and adventure zones and many thanks for the great tip and inspiration!

  4. Oh you two are such big teases! Where are these places? Oh that’s right, they’re your special places. I really like that and don’t you dare tell.

    Everyone should join in the wonder-part of getting off the darn path and make their own. Good reminder and what a lovely picture. When ever I see moss like that I’m forced to get my nose down in there and have a closer look.

    One time I did this and I saw an entire family of gnomes…

  5. Hi Magnus!

    Thanks for the adventuring wishes =) We must admit some jealousy when considering your adventuring grounds in Ireland, however. Every time we look at your photos, we feel like we can almost taste the air . . .

  6. Hello Jay,

    We couldn’t agree more — amazing wonders are to be found ‘off the beaten path’.

    Gnomes, you say? Your land is perfect habitat for all manner of faerie-kin!

  7. Ok you two, not even one of the places? How about fessing up where the old growth forest was located. And you know, I do believe I’ve seen a faerie (or two) about the place.

  8. Hi Ken!

    We feed those faeries every night — give them a treat of some nuts, wine, milk, or cheese. They love it =)

    Actually, the old growth is not too far from you two — it’s some DNR land that appears landlocked, just south of the Colfax school forest. There are two sections of private land that are in government programs, so you can cross them. This particular land hasn’t been logged for something like a hundred years — not virgin, but definitely old. We’ll show you on a map sometime!

  9. Absolutely valuable advise. I have a few such places nearby and value them highly. We seem to have a high rate of littering in our area and it makes for a very distressful visit to venture to the well traveled parks and CA areas. Reaching areas that see very little if any human contact brings with it peace and an appreciation of the sheer beauty to be found there, and not a beer bottle to be found!!!!

  10. Hi MObugs,

    Litter free! Hikes can become cumbersome for the litter-conscious, as it’s often difficult resist the impulse to pick up all the trash you see. The result can often turn a nice light-footed walk into a heavy trudge under the weight of cans and bottles and who-knows-what-else. Why, during a recent wander we saw, of all things, a bike up in a tree. We didn’t manage to get it down, but that would have really added some weight! =)

    It’s beautiful to hear that you have places to wander where your tracks are the only human ones.

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