The Byrne family has farmed in the Wicklow hills, along the Wicklow Way, for five generations. As a teen Sean helped out just down the road at a guest-house catering to hunters and fishermen on the beautiful Lough Dan. He also worked for his neighbors, the Guinness family, on their estate on the sublime Lough Tay. This farm boy gradually developed a gracious ease in working with people of all walks of life, a strong sense of the traditions of rural hospitality, deep knowledge of the land and the region, and a guiding commitment to preservation of the mountain uplands and way of life. Photo above of Sean and Theresa Byrne.
By Sam Demas
With fabulous ski terrain and a great climate, Winthrop, WA on the east slope of the North Cascades, became a mecca for winter sports enthusiasts in the 1970’s. Attracted by the consistent snow cover, great climate, and stunning natural beauty, young people began to move into the area. So did people representing big alpine ski resorts, with ambitions to create a destination alpine ski resort and to profit from an attendant real estate boom. One could view the modern history of the Methow Valley as a tale of big alpine ski interests vs. environmentalists, with x-country ski enthusiasts, or “soft path” recreationists, as the “middle-path” saviors. While that’s part of it, it oversimplifies the story by painting a black and white picture of conflict and reaction. Instead, it seems that the values and visions of Methow Valley residents — old and new — gradually cohered and prevailed through a parallel effort to create a recreation hub and economic driver without turning Methow Valley into another Aspen.
Authors Kim Smith and Matt Kirby published the results of their investigation of what the concept of wilderness means to people born after 1980. They were interested to learn how factors such as anthropogenic climate change and a decline in exposure to the outdoors may have changed the meaning of wilderness for 21st century Americans. They wanted to know: does the wilderness tradition still speak to Millenials? Their paper “Wilderness 2.0: what does wilderness mean to the Millenials?” was published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, April 2015.
Click here to read the article: Wilderness 2.0