Independence Found in Wilderness

As we honor our country today on the 4th of July, I thought I'd remark on one of our nation's greatest assets: the Wilderness. The areas of designated wilderness (found within the borders of some National Parks, Forests, and other federal lands) not only keep our country strong, but provide those with an independent spirit refuge from an increasingly mechanized world. I have a few quotes here which help tell the tale of our wilderness areas. The first was shared for me in an email exchange with a visitor to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument who found this quote on an overlook. It is attributed to a late New Mexico Senator who was instrumental in the development of the Wilderness Act of 1964.

"Wilderness is an anchor to windward. Knowing it is there, we can know that we are still a rich nation, tending our resources as we should--not a people in despair searching every last nook and cranny of our land for a board of lumber, a barrel of oil, a blade of grass, or a tank of water." - Clinton P. Anderson

(Upon signing of the Wilderness Act, 1964) "If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it." - President Lyndon B. Johnson

'For me, and for thousands with similar inclinations, the most important passion of life is the overpowering desire to escape periodically from the clutches of a mechanistic civilization. To us the enjoyment of solitude, complete independence, and the beauty of undefiled panoramas is absolutely essential to happiness.' - Bob Marshall

'Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.' - John Muir

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