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Wilderness Act Objectives

     Howard Zahniser once said “We must always remember, that the essential quality of wilderness is wildness” (Zahniser, 1992). The concept being that wilderness is a region in which nature retains the primary capacity to arise the forces of selection that cause landscapes and ecosystems to evolve. This definition requires a complicated examination of wilderness management strategies in an attempt to properly address the values of wilderness stewardship that have been laid out by the Wilderness Act of 1964. The real dilemma is in finding a way to perpetuate natural conditions determined by natural processes, when those forces conflict with alternative objectives that are determined by modern humanity.

     As the earth moves further into the Anthropocene era, a modern interpretation of the Wilderness Act is that the law requires us to promote the best policies possible to minimize the influences of modern humans on land restricted as wilderness. All the while, integrating the concerns of other complex topics that eventually result in policies protecting the greater good for all Americans.

In the past this method has worked alright enough to move forward. Political leaders from both parties, with different overall agendas, have routinely made compromises to further the goals of the democracy as a whole. Pursuing agreements that produce political compromises and address the best interest of the entire country is a key factor in maintaining an enduring resource of wilderness. Sadly, some contemporary political rhetoric and hyperbole seems determined to destroy this concept, and these threats are not recognized to the extent in which they demand. 

The Wilderness Act of 1964


Ricke, K. L., & K. C. (2014). Maximum Warming Occurs about One Decade after Carbon Dioxide Emmision. Stanford, CA: Dept of Global Ecology – Carnegie Instutution for Science.

The Royal Society and The National Academy of Sciences. (2013). Climate Change Evidence and Causes.  http://dels.nas.edu/resources/static-assets/exec-office-other/climate-change-full.pdf

Zahniser, H. (1992). Where Wilderness Preservation Began: Adirondack Writings of Howard Zahniser. Utica: North Country Books.

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