The Waterman Fund fosters the spirit of wildness and strengthens the stewardship and understanding of the alpine areas of Northeastern North America to conserve their ecological, cultural, and recreational values. The Fund draws its name and inspiration from Guy Waterman, noted explorer, climber, trail maintainer, writer, and philosopher whose death in February 2000 sparked his friends and admirers to create a memorial fund to further his work and spirit on behalf of the wilderness values he championed and the stewardship ethic he embodied. From this carefully managed endowment, the Fund offers grants for education, trail rehabilitation, and research, sponsors an essay contest that explores wilderness and stewardship issues, honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to alpine stewardship, and supports the bi-annual Alpine Stewardship Gathering. The vision of the Fund is fourfold: 1. Alpine areas retain their ecological integrity; 2. Every visitor stewards the land and experiences its wonder; 3. Least intrusive management practices prevail and human impacts are minimized; and 4. The spirit of wildness pervades the mountains.
The Waterman Fund will honor the National Park Service and Acadia Centennials through its 2016 Essay Contest. The theme of the contest is: MANAGING WILDNESS: THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM AND WILDERNESS
Guy and Laura Waterman spent a lifetime reflecting and writing on the Northeast’s mountains. The Waterman Fund seeks to further their legacy through essays that celebrate and explore issues of wilderness, wildness, and humans through the Fund’s annual essay contest.
In dual honor of the Centennials of both Acadia National Park and the National Park System, for the 2016 Essay Contest emerging writers are encouraged to explore the relationship between the rich history of America’s National Park System and personal understandings of recreation and stewardship of wild places, wilderness, and Wilderness.
Although the origins of the National Park System lie in the 1830s aspirations of painter and explorer George Catlin, it was not until 1876 that the first national park was established and not until 1916 that the National Park System (NPS) was created to oversee the management and stewardship of these wild and beautiful landscapes.
A century later, nearly 300 million people flock to national parks every year. We enjoy these many parks and monuments with their roads and trails, infrastructure and education programs, research facilities and gift shops in ways unforeseen by the parks’ original stewards. Similarly, the roles of NPS employees, from climbing rangers to tour guides, are now as varied as the parks themselves.
The dual mission of the NPS is to conserve the resources and provide visitor enjoyment of uniquely wild and beautiful places around the country. However, with these high and growing levels of use, how can the NPS achieve these ideals? Is the spirit of wilderness alive and well in our national parks? What do we gain or lose by protecting these areas over others? What relationships between stewardship and national parks stand out as significant in preserving both our landscapes and our ideals of wilderness?
Emerging writers are encouraged to address these questions and their own in well-crafted essays, drawing on personal wilderness experiences—in or out of parks—as concrete examples for their arguments.
The deadline for submissions is April 15th, 2016. We will announce the winners at the end of June. The winning essayist will be awarded $1500 and published in Appalachia Journal. The Honorable Mention essay will receive $500. Both essays will be published on our website as well.
Submissions should include contact information and a few lines about why the writers feel their essay is appropriate for the contest. Online submissions are appreciated, but not required. If submitting electronically, double-spaced manuscripts in a 12-point font, Word compatible file,
The Waterman Fund also expects to receive a 2016 grant proposal from Acadia National Park, and if approved, the grant award would also celebrate Acadia’s Centennial. Grant decisions will be made by the end of January.