What is Wilderness Worth?

In 1964, Congress protected areas where, according to the Wilderness Act, “the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Wilderness areas now cover approximately 5 percent of the United States – over 100 million acres. While the ecological and aesthetic value of these lands is apparent, their economic...

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USFS to study 300,000+ WNC acres for potential wilderness additions

As part of the ongoing, multiyear revision process for the Forest Plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests in Western North Carolina, the U.S. Forest Service is evaluating more than 300,000 acres in the forest for potential wilderness designation. Wilderness areas are the nation’s highest form of land protection, designed to protect unspoiled areas for future...

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Veterans in wilderness

It’s no surprise that veterans have a long history of serving as stewards of the American outdoors, and with our public lands under pressure from development and other threats, their voices are more important than ever. Our wildlands provide an excellent place for self-centering or connecting with family and friends. This is true for people from all walks of life, but it...

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With 765 wilderness areas, some are bound to have odd names

America’s hundreds of protected Wilderness areas have names as varied as their landscapes, with wide-ranging origin stories to boot. Names matter. The word “wilderness” still wrongly carries connotations of danger, desolation, even abandonment (consider the way we use it in popular idioms). This was all the more true in 15th- through early-20th-century America. The...

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This Land Is Our Land

by Nicholas Kristof for the NY Times Most of the time in America, we’re surrounded by oppressive inequality, such that the wealthiest 1 percent collectively own substantially more than the bottom 90 percent. One escape from that is America’s wild places. At a time when so much else in America is rationed by price, egalitarianism thrives in the wilderness. On the trail,...

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Long Trails and Wild Spaces

The sign at the trailhead stated: “Beware of mountain lions.” Next to it another sign was posted that warned about the dangers of and correct behavior in a bear encounter. You are entering the Continental Divide Trail, one of America’s longest and most challenging trails.Here on the Continental Divide Trail, mountain lions, bears, wolves-and even the...

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Where to see wilderness in the eastern U.S.

Most of the best-known wilderness areas are out west, but states east of the Mississippi River still contain millions of acres of stunning land protected under the 50-year-old Wilderness Act. Befitting a pioneer nation, many of our most revered natural landscapes, from the Grand Canyon to Yosemite, are in the west. However, the roots of American conservation lie firmly...

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Being Found: How to Increase your Survivability by Understanding How Search and Rescue Personnel Work

When was the last time you were hiking and looked up only to realize that your real and perceived locations no longer matched? It’s a common and unsettling experience to say the least. In these moments, humans tend to use a combination of observational, logical and investigative techniques to reorient themselves and get back on track. However, any combination of factors...

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Obama Administration Moves to Protect Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama’s Administration moved to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, widely considered one of the most spectacular and remote areas in the world. The Department of the Interior is releasing a conservation plan for the Refuge that for the first time recommends additional protections, and President Obama announced he will make...

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Forest users negotiate need for wilderness in new management plan

Western North Carolina is covered with more than 1,500 square miles of national forest, and residents often measure their assets in terms of towering hardwoods, flocks of turkeys and mountain streams. National forest land belongs to everybody, but “everybody” includes a pretty diverse group of hikers, bird watchers, hunters, mountain bikers, horseback riders, fishermen,...

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Devil’s Glen one of many Montana areas considered for wilderness designation

Would the Devil’s Glen make a good present for the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act? The 16,000-acre strip of Dearborn River canyon at the southern edge of the Rocky Mountain Front makes an awesome postcard. Waterfalls and moose tracks line the trail to the Continental Divide. So does a collection of ranch houses and summer camp cabins. The parcel is part of the...

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Bill would expand wilderness area at Olympic National Forest

For the second time in two years, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray is taking a stab at greatly enlarging the portion of Olympic National Forest that would receive highest federal protection as a designated wilderness. Murray and fellow Washington Democrat Rep. Derek Kilmer, of Gig Harbor, on Friday introduced a bill to put logging, dams and other development off-limits on 126,554...

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World’s biggest, baddest national parks

What do you imagine when you hear the word “wilderness?” Odds are your vision involves pristine rivers and lakes, untouched swaths of land and the possibility to go for weeks or months on end without seeing another living soul (but plenty of wildlife, of course). While there are numerous incredible protected areas around the globe, size matters when it comes...

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Wilderness Areas Could Grow by 80,000 Acres in SoCal National Forests

A new proposal could expand wilderness areas – where no cars are permitted – in Southern California national forests by 80,000 acres, protecting the land from development. The proposal would revise land use regulations for specified “roadless” areas that stretch across the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests. “This scope of the...

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The Paradox of Going Outside

How do you go into the wild without going Into the Wild? The trouble is, nature does not come naturally to city people. It is not something we just do, like walk. It’s a thing we sign up for, train for, save for. The best evidence of this is the fact that our first stop is always to a sporting goods store, a place like REI, the Recreational Equipment Inc. (motto: “Get...

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Comment sought on proposed Linville Gorge burn

Hoping to avoid another catastrophic wildfire in the Linville Gorge Wilderness and improve overall forest health, the U.S. Forest Service plans to beat fire at its own game with a prescribed burn. But some nearby homeowners and those who enjoy recreation in the gorge are rallying against the burning plan. The Forest Service is now in a scoping period where it is seeking...

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Dealing with the Wild in Wilderness – Mountain Lion, Bear, Moose

After having two encounters of moose family in four days, the author realized that his animal whispering-skills are non- existent and he should learn what these animals tendencies are. While having fun in Utah, he wanted to inform himself how to prevent attacks, how to handle encounters, and finally how to handle getting attacked. This is what he found about the common...

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Parking lot reduced at trailhead in Zion National Park

The parking lot at Zion National Park’s Middle Fork of Taylor Creek Trailhead is being reduced to help fight overcrowding. The trail, which is in the Kolob Canyons section of the park, is part of the park’s designated wilderness. Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth said he is sympathetic to trail users. “We know this will inconvenience some visitors, but...

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Summit Stones & Adventure Musings

It’s all about the importance of giving back and passing forward… So says the masthead at Summit Stones & Adventure Musings, a fount of wisdom and inspiration that dares to take us to the “wild places,” the summits, canyons and waters of our imagined and realized adventures. True to his aspirations, DSD as he is known, has blessed me with an...

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Technology Can Enhance Your Wilderness Experiences

Few boundaries are so sacred and inviolable, few walls between church and state so absolute, as those that divide the great outdoors — the mountains and rivers and forests — from the electronic communications networks that, some say, have infiltrated the natural world to the point that it no longer exists. For these purists, who consider the wilderness a perfectly...

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New Mexico A True Hiker’s Paradise

For years on end, the state of New Mexico carried a rather lackluster image of desolate economic landscape, remedial cultural life and generally little to offer in terms of tourist attractions. And for a while there, it seemed as if New Mexicans themselves were hellbent on cultivating a Devil-May-Care attitude about it all. But now it seems as if the times are finally...

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Hiking in Idaho: 6 Hiking Tips To Get The Most From Your Hikes

Check out the short video of hiking in Idaho to watch all the action. It’s to Sawtooth Lake in the Sawtooth Mountains. Then read o for 6 tips to get the most from your own hikes. Leave the wilderness better than you found it Give yourself plenty of time Go swimming Catch some fish Make your own dinner Leave before it gets dark Read full...

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Fair Game: A wild and sacred place

There are no designated trails, only the tracks of elk. There are no posted signs, only a slight indentation through the tundra. There are no bridges, only fallen logs across the creeks. There are no people other than an occasional backpacker staggered by serenity and solitude. This wild and sacred place is not far from Aspen, but in 30 years of hiking the Elk Range, I...

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Mule power: Wilderness work requires a step back in time

Sometimes the old ways are the only ways of doing things when it comes to maintaining our country’s wilderness. In a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service, the Backcountry Horsemen of California and the California Conservation Corps, crews keep the use of pack mules alive while sustaining wilderness trails in the state. With deep evergreen canyons, peaks more...

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