Hopefully most outdoor enthusiasts are aware that this coming September it is the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Throughout the country there are many different events that have been set up to celebrate such a wonderful event. For the last two weeks my partner, Rob, and I have attended many Forest Service orientations, where the idea of wilderness has been discussed and what it really means to the Forest Service and its employees. So you may be asking: What is wilderness?
If you were to look up what Congress states in the Wilderness Act you’d find that it is described as; “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” In my eyes the Wilderness Act is probably the most beautifully written piece of legislation that has come out of the US Government.
Wilderness is a place where human impact should be unnoticed. There is an emphasis on primitive activity, minimal tool use, no mechanized machines (cars, bikes, chainsaws, etc) and keeping the ecosystems and areas wild. I feel that a lot of people may not understand why these restrictions have been put in place. I believe that the more willing wilderness eager beavers are to educate people about the reasons why these restrictions are important, the safer the wilderness will be for all.
To me the wilderness is a place of solitude and a happy place. If you haven’t had the opportunity to head out to the woods, don’t be scared. I believe that all humans need that natural connection, especially in our world today where television and cell phones seem to have a hold on people. Turn off your phones, people, and get out and explore your wilderness.
I will leave you all with a quotation from one of my favorite naturalists, Edward Abbey; “Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit.” Thanks, Ed, you are a wise soul.