WikiparX is, foremost, a reflection of me, Cedric Keith.
I’ve thought throughout my life about starting an outdoor business and about just what kind of a business that should be. My first foray into this realm was the selling of my own flies (fly fishing lures) beginning at about the age of 13. This endeavour lead to two realizations: 1) I would have to give up all but just a little eating and sleeping in order to have enough time to make real money and 2) I’m just not that great a tyer, or at least my flies aren’t neat enough for commercial consumption. (Thanks to all the charitable folks who bought them anyway.)
I thought about selling some kind of outdoor gear but through the years came to realize that I’m just not a gear person. Great outdoorsmen learn to use the gear that’s at hand or that they can make and not rely on overpriced high-end stuff (in my humble opinion). I thought a good bit about guiding but realized by the time I’d finished my long hikes that I didn’t want to take anyone by the hand and show them where to go or how to catch fish. Outdoorsmanship is about finding your own unique opportunities, your own special places and your own under-appreciated fish. I ended a book a few years back with the thought that it’s all about “taking oneself.”
I wanted to find a way to make a business of putting maps into people’s hands and saying, “Go out and find your own adventure!” But it’s tough to make a living at that.
I came away from my long hikes seeing that most of the beautiful, wooded habitat out there was actually on private lands. We tend to appreciate this less because we’re often not allowed to go there. But the animals are and they appreciate any piece of field or forest, no matter what artificial delineations we’ve thrown up.
I biked the emerging rail trail network of western Pennsylvania and continued to look around at the thousands of private properties surrounding these corridors. I fished places where I had to turn back because of the ubiquitous “Posted” signs which affirmed private ownership of much of the PA forest. I thought about a recent invention called the “internet” and I saw opportunity.
Any reader of “The Dying Fish” also knows that I’m a libertarian, one who places liberty at the top of his values hierarchy, who values limited government, who believes in the fundamental rights of classical liberal provenance, and who respects private property rights as fundamental to the American way (and to freedom). Readers of the book will also understand that I care a great deal about conservation and the book began to suggest a way in which libertarianism may not be antithetical to conservation but may in fact be a better, more sustainable path to environmental well being.
This summer I established an e-commerce business called WikiparX.com. This is where I’ve been going with it all, all along, I’d like to think, since long before the Eastern Brook Trout Solo Adventure. WikiparX, fundamentally, is a place for the sale of permits to access private properties, as offered by the landowners. WikiparX is a place for modern day adventurers and explorers, those who want to see all the stuff that’s always been off limits and separate themselves from the crowd.
WikiparX incentivizes land conservation by providing land owners income streams that have nothing to do with development. This is very typical of libertarian thought. How much better to offer positive economic incentives than to impose new mandates and compliance? WikiparX lack the permanence of traditional parks – landowners get in and out at will and our map will be a constantly shifting array of offerings – always something new.
Much work continues to go into all of this, as you might imagine. The current site at wikiparX.com is our simple landowner sign-up site which will be supplanted by a much more streamlined e-commerce site, Jan. 1, 2019, where permits to access will be sold. The marketing campaign is beginning now. My partner Jim and I are trying to do it all but help is always appreciated from those who might have experience in marketing, web development or various aspects of business management. Early investment is also welcomed by those who also believe in the concept and the entrepreneurs making it happen!
So, stay tuned; this adventure’s just getting started!