Chief Tom Tidwell on the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act


As Americans, we are lucky. Our identity is
shaped by our natural heritage. Other countries have cultures and civilizations far older
than ours, but their experience with the wild is far more limited than ours because they
have far less of it. With the closing of the American frontier
more than a century ago, our wilderness experiences, too, were in danger of vanishing. Fortunately,
we had visionary leaders with the foresight to create a system of national forests and
other federal lands that is the envy of the world. These lands contain some of the wildest remaining
parts of North America. Recognizing the need for wilderness preservation, Forest Service
leaders like Aldo Leopold worked tirelessly to conserve a vestige of the wilderness experience
for future generations. In 1924, the Forest Service designated America’s first wilderness
area, the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico. For the next 40 years, wilderness advocates
continued their work. On September 3, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness
Act, establishing the National Wilderness Preservation System. Today, America has 758 wilderness areas on
almost 110 million acres. The Forest Service alone manages 440 wilderness areas. They make
up a third of the entire National Forest System. This year is the Golden Anniversary of the
Wilderness Act. It is an opportunity to not only celebrate America’s unique wilderness
legacy, but to reflect on the importance of wilderness and to be mindful of the challenges
ahead. Wilderness faces many of the same challenges
as other parts of the National Forest System, challenges associated with its use; with the
effects of a changing climate; with invasive species, fire and fuels, and outbreaks of
insects and disease. You can help by finding ways to contribute
to wilderness stewardship and taking care in the use of your wilderness areas. Remember,
these lands belong to you and to all Americans.
As Americans, we have an obligation to preserve our wilderness heritage for generations to
come. Thank you

2 thoughts on “Chief Tom Tidwell on the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

  1. Well said. I am also grateful for World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves that conserve our planet's cultural and natural heritage for future generations,

  2. US FOREST SERVICE LISTENING SESSIONS SUMMARY TOTALLY IGNORES COMMENTS ON NAVY MILITARIZATION OF PUBLIC LANDS With this blatantly falsified report, the United States Forest Service has betrayed its own mission and the American people. Effective alternative legal action — not ineffective conventional legal action in the corrupted US court system — immediately needs to be taken against them, as well as against all others enabling naval war crimes in Northwest Washington State. — REC. http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r6/landmanagement/?cid=stelprd3831710

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