As the highest and most impressive features of the landscape, mountains have an unusual power to awaken a sense of the sacred. Their soaring summits, the clouds and thunder that swirl about their peaks, the life-giving waters that flow from their heights, these and other characteristics imbue them with an aura of mystery and sanctity. In that aura, people of diverse backgrounds, both traditional and modern, experience a deeper reality that gives meaning and vitality to their lives. Drawing on many of the themes associated with sacred mountains around the world, The Mountain Institute in Washington DC has developed with the US National Park Service innovative educational activities that highlight the spiritual and cultural meanings of natural features of mountain environments in different cultures. The purpose of the project is to connect a broad range of visitors with nature, enrich their experiences, and give them deep-seated, sustainable reasons for conserving the environment. Efforts to conserve the environmental integrity and cultural diversity associated with sacred mountains need to involve the many diverse peoples and traditions that revere and care for them.
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