Photo courtesy of The Conservation Alliance
Today is a day that we celebrate an act passed by Congress exactly fifty years ago (September 3rd, 1964). It is a day to be grateful for those who have come before us who realized that future generations need to be able to experience wild places as they are, “untrammeled by man”, and to learn that there are areas we must protect and treasure.
That act, authored by Howard Zahniser and signed by Lyndon B. Johnson, is the Wilderness Act. The Wilderness Act created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States and initially designated 9.1 million acres as protected federal lands. Today, there are 757 designated wilderness areas encompassing 109.5 million acres.
The Wilderness Act’s definition of wilderness is as follows: “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”
There are many reasons to love wilderness areas. For us, wilderness areas are places to reconnect with our natural inner being, to disconnect from a wired world, to seek adventure and adrenaline, to spend time with good friends, to experience nature and, above all, to share all of these with our dogs.
For our dogs, wilderness is a place for them to be free to be dogs – to disconnect from a tethered world. It is also a place where the human-dog bond can be enriched far beyond any indoor space.
Today we hope you will join us in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Whether you are out in wilderness today, just returned from a Labor Day wilderness outing, or a planning your next trip to the wild, today is a day to be grateful that we have wild places that “are untrammeled by man” to explore.
Please share with us what “wilderness” means to you and how you plan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.