Despite modern man’s seeming determination to inhabit virtually every corner of the globe, designated wilderness areas in the United States are largely being spared from the impacts of human development.
So said Lorena Williams, a forestry technician with the Red Rock Ranger District who gave a presentation about the district’s seven wilderness areas on Friday, Aug. 2, at the South Gateway Visitor Center.
As the Wilderness Act of 1964 stated: Wilderness is “an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”
The Wilderness Act, which was written by Howard Zahniser and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States and initially protected 9.1 million acres of federal land.
Since that time, the amount of wilderness has grown almost every year and now includes more than 109 million acres in 44 states and Puerto Rico — an area larger than the state of California.
Arizona has more than 4.5 million acres of wilderness, the fourth most of any state.
The Wilderness Act further defined wilderness as a place that “appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable.”
But despite, or perhaps because of the lack of human impact, wilderness areas are wonderful places for people to recreate.
“Almost all outdoor recreation experiences are allowed [in wilderness] except those requiring mechanical transport, or motorized equipment,” Williams said, “[and] noise is a big reason.”
For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Aug. 7 issue of the Camp Verde Journal and Cottonwood Journal Extra.