This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Wilderness Act, which defined, once and for all, wilderness as “an area where the Earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor and does not remain.”
This monumental recognition and powerful legislation is just as useful today as it was in 1964 because it allows Congress to protect some of our nation’s most precious wild lands, again and again. We love our public lands, the recreation opportunities they offer and the solitude and soul-feeding beauty they offer all of us. So it’s important that we protect as much land as possible. Adding to that, 2014 is a unique and potentially opportune year because lawmakers of the 113th Congress currently have the momentum necessary to some of these wilderness bills across the finish line. As a nation, we also have the momentum of the 50th Anniversary of The Wilderness Act to build upon by protecting more wildernesses for decades to come.
So, what can you do? Historically, wilderness protection comes from those who experience the natural beauty of their own backyards and then feel moved to fight for their protection. You can help protect the wilderness in your own neck of the woods by exercising your civic rights and speaking up! Email your Senator to tell them that you love these wild places and that you – and your community – want them to stay wild. Join us in a movement along with many local communities in urging Congress to pass wilderness protection.
We'll close this out with words from filmmaker Pete McBride, who created the film above. In a recent National Geographic post, he writes:
"That said, there one fundamental distinction we cannot forget: unlike farms and gardens, wilderness areas cannot change, nor are they allowed to be changed. No permanent buildings, no roads, no wheeled traffic. Their management plans might have adjusted over the last 50 years, but their undeveloped landscapes have not. A few trails may have appeared; a few trees may have sprouted skyward, crashed to earth, or even burned. Yet, what someone saw in 1964 is roughly the same today."