Nash introduction
modern wilderness ideas
Changing American concept of wilderness--the focus now is on ideas
wyoming mountains

where have you visited the wilderness?
What if we want to say that within a national park or national forest we want to set aside some land as wilderness. How would we define wilderness for that purpose?

What is wilderness?  For the purposes of this book we need to be careful about what exactly do we mean by wilderness.

what would disqualify an area as wilderness?
how wild do you want your wilderness to be
Consider a spectrum between wilderness and civilization:
  1. city--in many ways we are in a human-created world
  2. suburb
  3. farms--nature under human control
  4. park designed by landscape architect
  5. natural land managed for human use (including harvesting timber), such as the Clemson Experimental Forest
  6. wild land intended for human visits (eg. trails)
  7. wilderness where you don't see any evidence of humans
  8. wilderness areas where human beings aren't allowed
Americans value wilderness differently from Europeans

history of our ideas about wilderness:
how did we get from there to current appreciation for wilderness?

We have now gotten to the idea that wilderness should be preserved.  Why?
why might we value wilderness today?  there are several possibilities
how might you divide up these reasons:

today wilderness means uncultivated and undeveloped land (land without humans)
but is also used for anywhere that people get lost and confused

33,000 people live in the 368 square miles of Dartmoor National Park in England and over 90% of the land in the park is used for farming.  Yet the high moor is described as the last true wildernesses left in England today.

long view of Dartmoor
Nature is valued in Europe, but the nature is valued is farmland
they have laws against turning farmland into suburban developments
natural land for people to visit is very carefully managed

John the Baptist in the Wilderness
St. John in a not very
                  wild wilderness
the root meaning of the word wilderness is uncontrolled--in contrast to a farm which is controlled nature
Sinai wilderness
the wilderness in which Moses and his followers wandered for 40 years

change from wilderness as something to be conquered to wilderness as something to be preserved?

This page written and copyright Pamela E. Mack
last updated 2/12/10
Hist 124