Mark Miller has been an outdoor adventurer since he was 4 and took his first solo-hike in Minnesota. That earned him a good whipping from his parents but also a lifelong love for the outdoors.
“By the time I was thirteen, I was free ranging up to twenty miles from home in what later became known as the Boundary Waters,” says Miller.
Miller got involved in conservation after writing a hiking guide called Wilderness Virginia in the early 90s. “In compiling that book, I was able to travel to all the designated Wilderness in Virginia.”
Soon after publishing the guide, Miller was asked to join the Virginia Wilderness Committee, where he now serves as Executive Director.
His work was instrumental in passing the Wilderness Bill in 2001 protecting The Priest and Three Ridges mountains, and he also helped work on the Omnibus Lands Act signed into law in 2009 protecting millions of acres across the US.
But equally rewarding to Miller is the hard work of maintaining the six-mile Rich Hole Trail in the Rich Hole Wilderness using only hand tools.
“Getting into the woods whether it is for work or pleasure is basically all the same. It is being in the woods and the woods are I place I love to be. It is such an integral part of who I am.”
Beartown Wilderness is one of his all-time favorite places to be. “The area on the summit of Garden Mountain is magical,” he says. A close second is Beartown Mountain in the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area. Both places are tough to get to. You really have to want to make the hike to see these spots as it involves a lot of bushwhacking, but they are worth the effort.”
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