Wasatch Environmental Update; Wilderness Be Praised!

Wasatch Env Update img

Wasatch Environmental Update for September 02, 2012

By John Worlock, Member, SOC Board of Directors

“Wilderness Be Praised!”

We’ve been talking about Wilderness, and we will keep on talking about Wilderness.  For forty years, Save Our Canyons has devoted itself to the enterprise of adding the treasured peaks, canyons and meadows of the central Wasatch to the National Wilderness Preservation System.

That System was created by the Wilderness Act of 1964, in which Wilderness is defined this way:  “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”  The act goes on to specify that Wilderness should be protected so as to preserve its natural character, and should be chosen to provide solitude and opportunity for primitive recreation.  We like these ideas.

In the remainder of this update, we will tell you what others have said about Wilderness.

We’ll start with the psalmist, who sang the praises of his Lord for making him to lie down in green pastures and for leading him beside the still waters.  It is hard to think of a better invocation of the spiritual comfort of wild places.

Shakespeare’s deposed Duke in As You Like It fled to the Forest of Arden, and found it welcoming, comforting and instructive.  He said,  “And this, our life exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”  Could he have foreseen the Wilderness in the Wasatch that we treasure?

Henry David Thoreau, who is remembered for living in a cabin beside his Walden Pond, told us simply and sternly that “in wildness is the preservation of the world.”

Charles Lindberg, who pushed scientific accomplishments beyond their known limits, wrote:   “In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.”

This brings us to Aldo Leopold, who comprehended the miracle of life, and its complexity, on our planet.  He wrote, “Land, then, is not merely soil; it is a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants and animals.”

We say that this miraculous fountain is worthy of celebration and preservation.

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