Wilderness Preservation

May 30, 1975

Report Outline
Campaign to Preserve Wild Areas
Origins of U.S. Wilderness System
Outlook for Wilderness Expansion
Special Focus

Campaign to Preserve Wild Areas

No part of earth is totally untouched by man. In this century, air pollution, nuclear fallout and sonic booms have penetrated to the most remote corners of the globe. It can be argued that every ecosystem on earth has been altered by human activity, and that there is no true wilderness left anywhere. However, there are clearly places on the planet which are for the most part still primeval, where the forces of nature are dominant, where humans are visitors who do not remain.

The world's surviving wilderness areas, disappearing at a rapid rate, are now the focus of an international struggle. Civilization, with its growing population and rising material demands, is moving relentlessly to develop the earth's remaining natural areas for energy, mineral, timber and other resources. At the same time, advocates of wilderness preservation are organizing a worldwide campaign to save what is left of these areas before they are gone forever.

Unlike other environmental issues—such as automobile emissions or water pollution, which affect people directly—wilderness preservation is seen by some as an elitist or esoteric concept. Relatively few people ever visit a wilderness in their lives, and some see little value in setting aside any wilderness for all time. They cannot identify with faraway places on society's frontiers which they feel have little to do with them. Others are genuinely concerned that civilization will need all the resources it can get in the coming years, and “locking up” wilderness will foreclose the options of development.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Apr. 22, 2016  Managing Western Lands
Jul. 18, 2014  Regulating Toxic Chemicals
Sep. 20, 2013  Future of the Arctic
Jun. 14, 2013  Climate Change
Nov. 06, 2012  Vanishing Biodiversity
Nov. 02, 2012  Managing Wildfires
Nov. 04, 2011  Managing Public Lands
Aug. 26, 2011  Gulf Coast Restoration
Jul. 2010  Plastic Pollution
Feb. 2010  Climate Change
Jan. 09, 2009  Confronting Warming
Dec. 05, 2008  Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
Nov. 2008  Carbon Trading
Oct. 03, 2008  Protecting Wetlands
Feb. 29, 2008  Buying Green
Dec. 14, 2007  Future of Recycling
Nov. 30, 2007  Disappearing Species
Feb. 2007  Curbing Climate Change
Dec. 01, 2006  The New Environmentalism
Jan. 27, 2006  Climate Change
Oct. 25, 2002  Bush and the Environment
Oct. 05, 2001  Invasive Species
Nov. 05, 1999  Saving Open Spaces
Jun. 11, 1999  Saving the Rain Forests
May 21, 1999  Setting Environmental Priorities
Mar. 19, 1999  Partisan Politics
Oct. 16, 1998  National Forests
Jun. 19, 1998  Environmental Justice
Aug. 23, 1996  Cleaning Up Hazardous Wastes
Mar. 31, 1995  Environmental Movement at 25
Jun. 19, 1992  Lead Poisoning
May 15, 1992  Jobs Vs. Environment
Jan. 17, 1992  Oil Spills
Sep. 20, 1991  Saving the Forests
Apr. 26, 1991  Electromagnetic Fields: Are They Dangerous?
Sep. 08, 1989  Free Market Environmental Protection
Dec. 09, 1988  Setting Environmental Priorities
Jul. 29, 1988  Living with Hazardous Wastes
Dec. 20, 1985  Requiem for Rain Forests?
Aug. 17, 1984  Protecting the Wilderness
Jun. 15, 1984  Troubled Ocean Fisheries
Aug. 19, 1983  America's Disappearing Wetlands
Feb. 22, 1980  Noise Control
Nov. 16, 1979  Closing the Environmental Decade
Oct. 13, 1978  Toxic Substance Control
Feb. 27, 1976  Pollution Control: Costs and Benefits
Nov. 28, 1975  Forest Policy
May 30, 1975  Wilderness Preservation
Dec. 20, 1974  Environmental Policy
Nov. 14, 1973  Strip Mining
Dec. 01, 1971  Global Pollution
Jul. 21, 1971  Protection of the Countryside
Jan. 06, 1971  Pollution Technology
Jun. 19, 1968  Protection of the Environment
Oct. 30, 1963  Noise Suppression
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Land Resources and Property Rights
National Parks and Reserves