Cristina has a favorite quote by the poet laureate of Deep Ecology, Gary Snyder: “Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.” This quote governs her life here in Bend.
A resident since 2011, Cristina’s passion is public lands. “Public lands have shaped who I am. My experiences while exploring national parks, state parks, and national forests, etc. have taught me so much about myself, from pushing past my perceived limits to providing quiet spaces to reflect or find creativity. Those places have been the backdrop to some of the most cherished memories of my life, from skiing and going on picnics as a little kid to marveling at the mountains and staring at starry skies with my husband. Public lands provide windows into our nation’s history and a world with fewer alterations from human impacts.”
Because of this passion, Cristina focuses on preserving public lands both professionally and personally. “Protecting public lands and the systems that established them is important to me. I work for the U.S. Forest Service, am the Secretary on the board of the Smith Rock Group, and also am involved in forming a new climbing advocacy group in the area. All of these roles allow me to better understand these systems and hopefully influence them in some small, positive ways.”
Cristina says she's motivated in her life by connections. “It may be a connection with the landscape, with a community of people, with a friend or my husband. Reconnecting with myself also motivates me. These connections happen during long trail runs, climbing sessions, bike rides, while spending time with friends, going on road trips, or quietly reading and writing at home.
Cristina also lives to find flow. “The flow state is akin to bliss. It's those moments when I lose all sense of time when actions feel effortless, and boundaries seem to disappear. It can happen while running, climbing, meditating, writing or even while working. Understanding the factors that allow me to reach that zen frame of mind and trying to achieve it motivates me.”And, she is driven by accomplishment. “There's great satisfaction in accomplishing something I set out to do, and that feeling of accomplishment motivates me too.”
Cristina is particularly proud of what she and her husband have accomplished since moving to Bend. “I am proud of the life that my husband and I have created here. When I moved here, I had just earned my Master’s Degree and left a well-paying to work an entry-level position at Tumalo State Park. I wondered if I’d ever find meaningful, stable work here and I worried how we would be able to afford to live the life we wanted. But with hard work, perseverance and passion things seem to fall into place. Now we both have permanent positions with the Forest Service, and we both enjoy our work. I am proud to be a part of that agency and grateful for the opportunities it has offered me.”
For those who are visiting or relocate to Bend, Cristina advises: “My advice is to learn about Leave No Trace. Learn about the public lands that surround Bend and how to visit them responsibly.”
Cristina also hopes that Bend preserves its small-town vibe. “The pace of life in Bend seems to be quickening. I don’t want Bend to feel like a fast-paced city. I want to preserve the small town, less stressful vibe.”
And, she wants Bend to grow thoughtfully. “I’d like to see more emphasis or awareness placed on taking care of the landscapes that surround Bend. Access to wild places and open spaces are what attracts many people here, but if those places are not taken care of or managed to protect that natural resources that exist there, their value becomes severely decreased which in turn devalues life in Bend. I’d also like to see the city itself grow with intention and proper planning which includes paying attention to transportation systems and housing options for all income levels.”
Cristina invites everyone to share her passion and sense of commitment to this beautiful area. “Central Oregon has become my place for however long or short of a time. And perhaps it is your place too. Let’s take responsibility for it together.”
Thanks to Cristina for sharing her story about her passion for the public lands in Central Oregon. If you want to be profiled in Go Local Bend, or want us to profile someone else, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.