Irony of Victory

In Alaska we had people who don't think we should preserve wilderness because that land could benefit humans.
Nash has told the historical story of American get to the point of believing we should preserve wilderness--now we have gotten there:
But even the people who think we should preserve wilderness may be damaging it.
The valuing of wilderness may be leading to harming it.

Has wilderness become so popular that it is harming the wilderness?
it isn't wilderness any more if it is overrun with people
this is the irony
what is the deeper connection we aren't recognizing when we see something as irony

what should you do if bears attack campers?
John Muir favored roads on the theory that more visitors meant more supporters for preservation, but the number of visitors clearly became a problem

Four revolutions:
ultralight backpacking equipment
The automobile made it possible for people to explore American scenery
early automobile

How to manage all the people who want to visit the wilderness?
photograph of Kings Canyon in snow by Ansel Adams
Photograph of Kings Canyon by Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams became a key advocate for roadless areas in the 1930s

By 1979 Grand Canyon National Park limited the number of people allowed to raft the river and banned motorized rafts
loading a raft in the Grand Canyon

Tension between access and a natural experience
if parks are paid for by taxpayers shouldn't people be able to use them
to have public opinion in favor of parks, it is best to encourage people to visit
if you have more people using a wilderness area you will need some kind of management
Even beyond that, wilderness management is a contradiction in terms
what happened to the wildness if the area is managed by humans?

This page written and copyright Pamela E. Mack
last updated 3/11/09
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