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Remembering the Wild: America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act


September 3, 2014

Contact: Courtney Sexton, csexton@defenders.org, 202-772-0253

Remembering the Wild:

America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act

WASHINGTON – Today, September 3rd, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. In 1964, Congress enacted a law “to establish a National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people.” For the past 50 years, the Wilderness Act has legally protected “area[s] where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

The following is a statement from Jamie Rappaport Clark, President, Defenders of Wildlife:

“The golden anniversary of the Wilderness Act is a time to celebrate and reflect on the extraordinary wild places that have been protected by this landmark legislation. Wilderness is an irreplaceable part of this country’s extraordinary natural heritage, and it serves as a safe reserve for so many imperiled species with which we share the earth. It provides some of the last great places in America where wildlife can truly be wild, where our watersheds remain intact with our rivers running clear, and where the American people can go to be inspired.

“The independent vastness of wilderness generates awe in all of us, and allows us to see the wild’s inhabitants on their own terms and in their own natural setting. In imagining a cougar looking out across the vastness of Yosemite, or a herd of caribou racing across the vast tundra of Alaska, we realize that we share the world with such incredible diversity. And over these past 50 years, the Wilderness Act has protected that diversity in America’s finest wildlands.”


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org.