In 1964, the Wilderness Act was passed. Today around 100 million acres of wilderness are protected. Although this may seem like a lot of land, it is actually very small considering the amount of wilderness America had before we installed roads, built buildings and developed it.
With little true wilderness left, it is up to us to keep it protected and do our best to look at what we have. Here are just a few reasons why we should protect our wild places.
Recreation – Hiking, biking, backpacking, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horseback riding and fishing are just a few of the healthy outdoor activities we can do when we have the wilderness. Keep our natural playgrounds alive by playing in them as much as you can.
Animals – Our wild places give a home to the thousands of species of animals, birds and insects that live in America. Not only is the wild a place for them to live, but also eat, migrate, and breed. Without the wilderness it would be nearly impossible for endangered species to thrive. Keep our animals thriving and healthy by keeping the wilderness healthy.
Air and water – Wild places protect watersheds that provide clean drinking water for people. The plants in the wilderness also help to purify the air we breathe. When we threaten the health of the wilderness, we are threatening our own health and the health of generations to come.
Learning – Our wild places give us a place to learn and study about the world we live in. Studying in nature can show us what impact we have on the earth and what we can do to protect it. It also gives us a place to study animals, climate change and the effects of natural disasters.
Ways you can help
Get out and enjoy it – By getting out in nature and encouraging others to do so you are making it public that you love the wild places. This will give other people a chance to do the same, and open up more opportunities for protecting nature.
Be gentle – Be gentle on the earth and strive to be as green as possible. Don’t litter when you go out in the wilderness and always follow the ‘leave no trace’ laws.
Talk to your local representatives – Encourage them to do more about protecting the wilderness. Ask them to protect certain areas or to tell others about at-risk wilderness areas.
Donate – Lots of conservation societies are doing their best to protect the wilderness. They can only do this with your help. Donate money and time to these groups to help them help this much needed cause.
“Without wilderness, we will eventually lose the capacity to understand America. Our drive, our ruggedness, our unquenchable optimism and zeal go back to the challenges of the untrammeled wilderness.
Britain won its wars on the playing fields of Eton. America developed its mettle at the muddy gaps of the Cumberlands, in the swift rapids of its rivers, on the limitless reaches of its western plains, in the silent vastness of primeval forests, and in the blizzard-ridden passes of the Rockies and Coast ranges.
If we lose wilderness, we lose forever the knowledge of what the world was and what it might, with understanding and loving husbandry, yet become. These are islands in time — with nothing to date them on the calendar of mankind. In these areas it is as though a person were looking backward into the ages and forward untold years. Here are bits of eternity, which have a preciousness beyond all accounting.”
-The Alternative Daily