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Posts tagged: wilderness

Secretary’s Column: Our Nation’s Wilderness: Yours to Enjoy and Protect

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. When he signed the Act in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson said, “If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.”

His foresight, along with the work of many of his contemporaries, has allowed generations of Americans to enjoy the natural beauty of our nation.

The Wilderness Act itself was landmark legislation that formally established protections for undeveloped tracts of land across the United States and created the country’s National Wilderness Preservation System. Read more »

Clearer Air Awaits You in Wilderness Areas Across the Country

A view of the San Gorgonio Wilderness shows what the haziest days looked like in the first and second halves of the last decade. The right side of the image is about 14 percent clearer than the left. (U.S. Forest Service computer-generated graphic/Scott Copeland)

A view of the San Gorgonio Wilderness shows what the haziest days looked like in the first and second halves of the last decade. The right side of the image is about 14 percent clearer than the left. (U.S. Forest Service computer-generated graphic/Scott Copeland)

Visitors to wilderness areas treasure the stunning vistas and pristine scenery. Now there is good news for the millions of people who recreate in these special places: less haze exists in most wilderness areas allowing them to see farther and enjoy more color and texture in the scenery.

“We have even better news,” says Bret Anderson, the Forest Service’s regional haze coordinator. “Further reductions in air pollution are expected to bring even clearer air in coming years.”

All this good news is showcased in a recent series of USDA Forest Service reports showing visibility has improved at 60 of the 86 Class I wilderness areas, which are defined as those area of greater than 6,000 acres. The trends considered five-year averages of the haziest days for each year from 2000 through 2009. Read more »

U.S. Forest Service to Mark 50th Anniversary of Wilderness Act

Golconda Job Corps students at overlook on Indian Point Trail in Garden of the Gods Wilderness, Illinois. (U. S. Forest Service/Kelly Pearson)

Golconda Job Corps students at overlook on Indian Point Trail in Garden of the Gods Wilderness, Illinois. (U. S. Forest Service/Kelly Pearson)

Editor’s Note: Throughout the year, we will highlight Forest Service wilderness areas in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act of 1964.

It’s pretty amazing that you can be in the busy college town of Carbondale, Ill., one minute, then roughly an hour’s ride away be at the gateway to one of our wilderness areas.

This year is the golden anniversary of the Wilderness Act, signed on Sept. 3, 1964, by President Lyndon Johnson. The act established the country’s National Wilderness Preservation System. So, on Sept. 3, 2014, lovers of wildlands will celebrate the landmark event that made history. Read more »

Your Wilderness Photo Could be Displayed at a Special Smithsonian Exhibition

South Warner Wilderness Area in northeastern California has about 79 miles of maintained trails suitable for horse or foot traffic. The diverse stretch of land includes the 9,892-foot Eagle Peak, mountain meadows, clear streams, ragged peaks and an abundance of wildflowers. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

South Warner Wilderness Area in northeastern California has about 79 miles of maintained trails suitable for horse or foot traffic. The diverse stretch of land includes the 9,892-foot Eagle Peak, mountain meadows, clear streams, ragged peaks and an abundance of wildflowers. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

The United States has 757 wilderness areas covering nearly 110 million acres of public land, but just one of your photographs could be among those displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History as part of a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964.

“Wilderness Forever” is a professionally juried photo contest by the 50th Anniversary National Wilderness Planning Team, or Wilderness50. Approximately 50 winning contest entries will be chosen for display as large format prints at the Smithsonian. Professional, amateur and student photographers are encouraged to submit photographs accompanied by personal stories and memories of the scenes depicted. Read more »

Spring Snows, Cold Weather to Give Way to Camping – Are You Ready?

This campground is on the Cascade Ranger District of the Boise National Forest.

This campground is on the Cascade Ranger District of the Boise National Forest.

As the weather begins to get warmer and the sun stays high in the sky longer, we hope your thoughts turn to camping and outdoor activities on your national forests and grasslands.

Whether you are camping on the ground, in a tent or in a recreational vehicle, whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned recreationist, there are ways to prepare before heading outdoors to create an unforgettable experience. Read more »

Keeping Wilderness Wild

When the first Europeans settled in what is now the United States, they found a continent of extensive wildlands. In less than 500 years, the undeveloped nature of these wildlands has been reduced significantly. As they became increasingly scarce and a fledgling conservation movement lost natural treasures like Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley to development, Americans began to appreciate their value.

View of the Sawtooth Range in Idaho. U.S. Forest Service photo.

View of the Sawtooth Range in Idaho. U.S. Forest Service photo.

With passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964, a new course in history was chartered — to preserve some of the country’s last remaining wild places and protect their natural processes and values from development. Read more »