Our wilderness system is intended to set aside areas "where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, [and] where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." Our "wilderness" areas are "areas of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions."
The problem is that although we recognize the importance of wilderness, we find it all too easy to encroach upon it. Whenever we do that, we are heading in the wrong direction. The Trump Administration, of course, is sprinting as fast as it can in that wrong direction. Today's confirmation of David Bernhardt as the new Secretary of the Interior gives ample proof of that. Bernhardt is a former oil industry lobbyist, and his bias is not towards the preservation and protection of our natural and wilderness areas.
E.O. Wilson, who knows more about the importance of biodiversity than almost anyone, has urged us to set aside one-half of the Earth as wilderness. Reducing, rather than expanding, human impacts on the natural environment is our safest route to self-preservation. We may live, most immediately, in a world that we construct, but we depend, ultimately, on the World of Nature.
Let's take a warning from Wilderness Watch and get headed in the right direction!