History of the Wilderness Act


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This slide-show was presented by Ralph Swain, Wilderness Program Manager for the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region, during the WILD9 Wilderness Management Seminar Training (1-3 November 2009). Ralph was a leader in the training, which brought together over 20 wilderness managers from around the world to share knowledge & experiences and learn best-practices in wilderness management.

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History of the Wilderness Act

  1. 1. Wilderness ActWilderness Management Seminar<br />Merida, Mexico<br />Ralph Swain<br />R2 Wilderness Program Manager<br />R2 Wild & Scenic Rivers Coordinator<br />rswain@fs.fed.us<br />303-275-5058<br />
  2. 2. It’s not easy to be a wilderness advocate!<br />
  3. 3. President Johnson signing The Wilderness Act on September 3, 1964<br />
  4. 4. Wilderness Act – Section 2(a)<br /><ul><li>In order to assure that an increasing population, In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of enduring resource of wilderness..</li></li></ul><li>
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
  7. 7. What was the most significant event of 1964?<br />1964 Ford Mustang<br />
  8. 8. “It is our task in our time and in our generation, to hand down undiminished to those who come after us, as was handed down to us by those who came before, the natural wealth and beauty which is ours.”<br />Senator John F. Kennedy<br />
  9. 9. John Muir<br />Robert Sterling Yard<br />Aldo Leopold<br />Olaus and <br />Mardy Murie<br />Bob Marshall<br />Teddy Roosevelt<br />
  10. 10. “There is a limit to the number of lands of shoreline on the lakes; <br />there is a limit to the number of lakes in existence;<br />there is a limit to the mountainous areas of the world, and there are portions of natural scenic beauty which are God-made and which of a right should be the property of all people.”<br />- Arthur Carhart letter to Aldo Leopold, 1919<br />Trapper’s Lake –White River NF, Colorado<br />Arthur Carhart<br />
  11. 11. Dr. Mark Harvey<br />Professor of History<br />North Dakota State University<br />
  12. 12. Frank Church<br />Clinton P.<br />Anderson<br />John<br />Saylor<br />Wayne<br />Aspinall<br />Mardy<br />Murie<br />Alice <br />Zahniser<br />Stewart<br />Udall<br />President<br />Lyndon<br />Johnson<br />Final votes:<br />Senate 73 – 12<br />House 373 -1<br />
  13. 13.
  14. 14. The Best Paper We Can Get<br />“Wilderness protection is paper thin, and the paper should be the best we can get — that upon which Congress prints its acts.”<br />David Brower<br />Sierra Club Bulletin<br />1956<br />
  15. 15. Zahnie’s Approach<br />
  16. 16. “We are not fighting progress, we are making it.” -Howard Zahniser<br />
  17. 17. Historical Movement<br /><ul><li>History of Raw Materials Extraction
  18. 18. Displacement of Indigenous Tribes
  19. 19. 1864 George P. Marsh – Man and Nature – stop devastation of natural resources
  20. 20. 1872 Yellowstone – 1st Natl. Park
  21. 21. 1905 National Forest Service established
  22. 22. 1916 National Park Service established</li></li></ul><li>Hetch Hetchy ValleyYosemite National Park<br />&quot;Dam HetchHetchy! As well dam for water-tanks the people&apos;s cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man.” <br />
  23. 23. A Human Need<br />Wilderness is “a serious human need rather than a luxury and plaything.”<br />Platform of The Wilderness Society<br />1935<br />Aldo Leopold, Bob Marshall, and others<br />
  24. 24. WildernessVanishing<br />“The universe of the wilderness … is vanishing with appalling rapidity. It is melting away like some last snowbank on some south-facing mountainside during a hot afternoon in June.”<br />Bob Marshall<br />April 1937<br />
  25. 25. Outlook for Wilderness 1940<br /><ul><li> No national policy to preserve </li></ul> wilderness<br /><ul><li> No uniform definition
  26. 26. No nationwide system of areas
  27. 27. No uniform management guidance
  28. 28. No commitment to preserve </li></ul> wilderness in perpetuity<br />
  29. 29. There Ought to be a Law!<br />“There is no assurance that any one of them or all of them might not be abolished as they were created—by administrative decree. They exist by sufferance and administrativepolicy—not by law.”<br />Kenneth Reid<br />Izaak Walton League of America<br />1939<br />
  30. 30. Wilderness of 1964<br /><ul><li> National policy: to preserve wilderness
  31. 31. Establishment of a National Wilderness </li></ul> Preservation System:<br /><ul><li> Uniform definition
  32. 32. Uniform management directive
  33. 33. Congress has exclusive power to </li></ul> designate wilderness areas<br /><ul><li>Only Congress can undo designations </li></ul> or change boundaries<br />
  34. 34. Wilderness Act of 1964<br />Established a National Wilderness Preservation System:<br />Statutory protection for<br /><ul><li> 9,140,000 acres
  35. 35. 54 areas
  36. 36. Only on national forests
  37. 37. 13 states, almost all in the West
  38. 38. None in Alaska</li></li></ul><li>The Wilderness Act of 1964<br />PL 88-577<br />COMPLETE TEXT OF THE WILDERNESS ACT<br />Public Law 88-577 (16 U.S. C. 1131-1136)<br /> 88th Congress, Second Session<br /> September 3, 1964<br />A N A C T<br /> To establish a National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people, and for other purposes.<br /> Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled.<br />SHORT TITLE <br />SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as the &quot;Wilderness Act.&quot; <br /> <br />WILDERNESS SYSTEM ESTABLISHED STATEMENT OF POLICY <br />SECTION 2.(a) In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation in their natural condition…<br /><ul><li>After 8 years of debate in Congress
  39. 39. 66 different rewrites of the bill
  40. 40. 18 public hearings that generated over 6,000 pages of testimony…</li></li></ul><li>Wilderness Act- Sec. 2(c)<br />...an area where the earth and ...an area where the earth and it’s community of life are untrammeled by man, …<br />not subjected to human controls or manipulations that hamper the free play of natural forces-<br />- not found anywhere else in federal statutes <br />(Harvey, 2005)<br />am<br />
  41. 41. The National Wilderness Preservation System1964-2006<br />Wilderness Areas<br />Currently there are 707 areas covering 106 million acres<br />
  42. 42.
  43. 43. Public Lands Management Act of 2009 – P.L. 111-11<br />President Obama signed the Act on March 30, 2009Designated 52 new areasEnlarged 26 existing wildernessesTotal of 2 million acres to the NWPS<br />
  44. 44. Now – in 2009<br />Statutory protection for<br />Total of 756 wilderness areas<br /><ul><li>Managed by four federal agencies
  45. 45. In 44 states and Puerto Rico
  46. 46. More than half in Alaska (54%)</li></ul>Total: 109,492,591acres<br />
  47. 47. R2 Wilderness<br />5 million acres<br />46 units:<br />35 CO<br />9 WY<br />1 SD<br />1 NE<br />
  48. 48.
  49. 49. Building our Wilderness System – BLM & NPS<br />
  50. 50.
  51. 51.
  52. 52. <ul><li>Congress acts incrementally
  53. 53. Congress defers to the state </li></ul> delegation<br /><ul><li> Congress prefers bipartisan </li></ul> solutions<br /><ul><li> Congress seeks to balance among </li></ul> users<br /><ul><li> Congress operates by accommo- </li></ul> dation and compromise<br />Congress and Wilderness<br />
  54. 54. Bills are More Complex<br />
  55. 55. 2. Boundary Location<br />Agencies are recommending “setting the boundaries of … proposed wilderness units back from the edge of roads [and] developed areas…. There is no requirement for that in the Wilderness Act… [It] has the effect of excluding the critical edge of wilderness from full statutory protection ...”<br />Sen. Frank Church<br />1972<br />
  56. 56. Sights and Sounds?<br />
  57. 57. 3. Nonconforming Uses<br />“An incredible number of compli-cations and obstacles … arise from the fact that<br />the wilderness idea was born after, rather than before … commercial de-velopment had begun.”<br />Aldo Leopold<br />1925<br />
  58. 58. Motorboats and Portages<br />Nonconforming use allowed by the Wilderness Act<br />
  59. 59. Airfields<br />“Mrs. Pfost: I am wondering what your opinion is regarding those airfields that we have in various primitive and possible wilderness areas.<br />Mr. Brower: We understand that, and we approve the accommodation of that kind of use that exists….”<br />David Brower<br />Sierra Club testimony<br />1962<br />Nonconforming use allowed by the Wilderness Act<br />
  60. 60. Livestock Grazing<br />“Mrs. Pfost: Mr. Brower, what is your opinion of the provision which allows grazing in the areas that have been established previously?<br />Mr. Brower: We … concur in that provision to protect existing rights or privileges.”<br />David Brower<br />Sierra Club testimony<br />1962<br />Nonconforming use allowed by the Wilderness Act<br />
  61. 61. What Does The Future Hold?<br /><ul><li>Commercialization
  62. 62. Encroachment – Night Sky
  63. 63. Management Creep
  64. 64. Climate Change
  65. 65. *Global Stewardship – Ambassadors*</li></li></ul><li>
  66. 66.
  67. 67. You are Tomorrow’s Ambassadors<br />