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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Wilderness Act Turns 50

Fifty years ago today (Sept. 3) President Lyndon Johnson signed into law The Wilderness Act, which preserves lands that are some of our greatest national treasures. The lands are left in, or restored to, their natural state and man is just a visitor to them who leaves no imprint. As such, Wilderness offers unparalleled chances for solitude.

MORE: The Service Celebrates | Refuge Wilderness | 50th Anniversary

Credit: USFWS

Can you imagine being the only one for as far as the eye can see, like this hiker in Andreafsky Wilderness in Alaska? (Well, except for the photographer.) More than half of the acreage in the National Wilderness Preservation System lies in Alaska.

Cape Romain
Credit: Jannah Dupre

Or if hiking isn’t your style, maybe hunting or fishing, like this angler at Cape Romain Wilderness in South Carolina. "A primitive and unconfined type of recreation" is a key part of Wilderness.


Credit: Vergial Harp/USFWS

While it can offer tremendous solitude, being in a Wilderness doesn’t mean being alone. Just ask these boaters at Mingo Wilderness in Missouri ...

Wichita Mountain
Credit: Wilderness.net

or these kids at Wichita Mountains Wilderness in Oklahoma.

Credit: Todd Frerichs

In Wilderness areas, you can see wildlife at home, like these bull elk at Fort Niobrara Wilderness in Nebraska …

Credit: Roy W. Lowe/USFWS

these common murres at the Oregon Islands Wilderness ...

Credit: Adam Brown/PRBO Conservation Science

or these fur seals at Farallon Wilderness in California. In order to best conserve the wildlife at Farallon, the Wilderness and refuge it is on are closed to the public, but a web cam on the islands is available through a partnership with the California Academy of Sciences.

Credit: USFWS

We end our quick tour with a sunset at Monomoy Wilderness in Massachusetts. It is one of several Wilderness areas near big cities. Thanks to the Wilderness Act, your tour needn’t end wuth the Monomoy sunset. You can visit all these and more. Find a Wilderness near you.

I also encourage you to preview two Esri Story Maps that were created in collaboration with Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History which will be featured on two kiosks within the photography exhibition, “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places, ” which runs through summer 2015. The two GIS applications geospatially tell the story of America’s wilderness areas. One is “Wilderness in Context”, http://storymaps.esri.com/stories/2014/wilderness-.... This geographically provides vital wilderness information about size, remoteness, climate, and terrain. The other is “Explore the Photographs”, http://storymaps.esri.com/stories/2014/wilderness-..., a delightful story map presenting exquisite wilderness photography across the American landscape.
# Posted By Katie D | 9/3/14 12:26 PM

Thank you for posting some pictures outlining the benefits of this program. I hope the Wilderness Act will be respected for many generations to come. Without it, it's scary to imagine what would have become of these beautiful spaces
Kind regards,
# Posted By Pierre | 10/24/14 8:53 AM
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