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Championing a Wilderness Philosophy

     When the Wilderness Act (PL 88-577) was passed into law in 1964, land developments were a pressing threat that risked the eventual eradication of all wilderness contained within our American borders. While land development continues to threaten the permanent preservation of wilderness today, the legal provisions provided by the Wilderness Act helped sustain the continuance of a few wild ecosystems, in a principally natural and undeveloped state, in our modern age.

The fact that National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) lands remain fundamentally undeveloped in excess of fifty years since the passage of the Wilderness Act is reason for encouragement. Nevertheless, the presence of statutory protections that prohibit future developments on designated NWPS lands, are insufficient. American wilderness continues to face a number of serious threats. As a multitude of factors that threaten to destroy our collective resource of enduring wilderness, have continued to increase in complexity during the modern era.

     In response to the challenges ahead a new generation of inspiring and transformative leaders, who can find the means unite our people, could be helpful to the cause. Regardless this goal requires leadership that permits Americans to respect each other, while working to accept the inherent differences between our people. We should celebrate, and respect, our differences as people. This objective continues to remain difficult in the modern era of social media and extremisms, stoking divisions among the citizenry of our nation.

     Disputes over public lands, climate change, and other issues affecting wilderness will require an unreal sense of vigilance. Advocates for the environment, public lands, wilderness, and issues of public importance cannot entrap themselves by rhetoric used to further conflicting agendas. Howard Zahniser worked tirelessly in his day so the present generation of Americans could enjoy the values obtained from the wilderness resource in the modern era. Today, the current generation has a responsibility to advocate for American wilderness preservation values, just as the forefathers of conservation and wilderness did before us. 

     Promotion of an enduring wilderness philosophy has the ability to unite Americans from a diverse set of backgrounds; and while other issues likely will remain at the forefront the national debate, this is still an issue that the majority of Americans openly support. However, some who oppose wilderness values have made significant gains in political power during recent years. To counter the assault, we must work unremittingly to educate our populace about the multiple values of wilderness, while simultaneously navigating the troubled seas of our democratic institutions in a bid to uphold the statutory protections that maintain the wildness, in American wilderness.

Setting the Example
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