Quotes About Wilderness


“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.” Edward Abbey

Hopefully, this collection of sourced quotes about wilderness will help you touch some of that world from which many have become divorced.  Only quotes that can be authenticated are added to this collection. The quotes are alphabetized by author last name.  If you have a favorite you think should be added, please share.

But love of the wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need – if only we had eyes to see.
Edward Abbey (1927-1989) – Desert Solitaire (1968) “Down the River”, p. 147.

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.
Edward Abbey (1927-1989) – Desert Solitaire (1968) “Down the River”, p. 148.

The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more defenders.
Edward Abbey (1927-1989) – The Journey Home (1991) “Shadows from the Big Woods”, p. 223.

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.
Edward Abbey (1927-1989) – Quoted in Readers Digest, Jan. 1970

Wilderness is an anchor to windward. Knowing it is there, we can also know that we are still a rich nation, tending our resources as we should — not a people in despair searching every last nook and cranny of our land for a board of lumber, a barrel of oil, a blade of grass, or a tank of water.
Senator Clinton P. Anderson (1895-1975) -“This we hold Dear,” American Forests, July 1963

There is a spiritual value to conservation, and wilderness typifies this. Wilderness is a demonstration by our people that we can put aside a portion of this which we have as a tribute to the Maker and say–this we will leave as we found it.
Senator Clinton P. Anderson (1895-1975) – Senator of New Mexico, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, “This we hold Dear,” American Forests, July 1963

For the 99 percent of the time we’ve been on Earth, we were hunter and gatherers, our lives dependent on knowing the fine, small details of our world. Deep inside, we still have a longing to be reconnected with the nature that shaped our imagination, our language, our song and dance, our sense of the divine.
Janine M Benyus (1958 – ) – Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, Harper Collins, NY, NY, 1997, Chapter 8.

The reason to preserve wilderness is that we need it. We need wilderness of all kinds, large and small, public and private. Wee need to go now and again into places where our work is disallowed, where our hopes and plans have no standing. We need to come into the presence of the unqualified and mysterious formality of Creation.
Wendell Berry (1934 – ) – “Preserving Wilderness,” Home Economics (1987)

There are endless ways to amuse oneself and be idle, and most of them lie outside the woods. I assume that when a man goes to the woods he goes because he needs to. I think he is drawn to the wilderness much as he is drawn to a woman: it is, in its way, his opposite. It is as far as possible unlike his home or his work or anything he will ever manufacture. For that reason he can take from it a solace—an understanding of himself, of what he needs and what he can do without—such as he can find nowhere else.
Wendell Berry (1934 – ) The Unforeseen Wilderness: An Essay on Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, University Press of Kentucky, 1971

Going to the woods and the wild places has little to do with recreation, and much to do with creation. For the wilderness is the creation in its pure state, its processes unqualified by the doings of people. A man in the woods comes face to face with the creation, of which he must begin to see himself a part—a much less imposing part than he thought. And seeing that the creation survives all wishful preconceptions about it, that it includes him only upon its own sovereign terms, that he is not free except in his proper place in it, then he may begin, perhaps, to take a hand in the creation of himself.
Wendell Berry (1934 – ) The Unforeseen Wilderness: An Essay on Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, University Press of Kentucky, 1971

As long as we insist on relating to it strictly on our own terms—as strange to us or subject to us—the wilderness is alien, threatening, fearful.
Wendell Berry (1934 – ) The Unforeseen Wilderness: An Essay on Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, University Press of Kentucky, 1971

As long as we insist on relating to it strictly on our own terms—as strange to us or subject to us—the wilderness is alien, threatening, fearful. We have no choice then but to become its exploiters, and to lose, by consequence, our place in it. It is only when, by humility, openness, generosity, courage, we make ourselves able to relate to it on its terms that it ceases to be alien.
Wendell Berry (1934 – ) The Unforeseen Wilderness: An Essay on Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, University Press of Kentucky, 1971

Without wilderness, we will eventually lose the capacity to understand America. Our drive, our ruggedness, our unquenchable optimism and zeal and elan go back to the challenges of the untrammeled wilderness. Britain won its wars on the playing fields of Eton. America developed its mettle at the muddy gaps of the Cumberland’s, in the swift rapids of its rivers, on the limitless reaches of its western plains, in the silent vastness of primeval forests, and in the blizzard-ridden passes of the Rockies and Coast ranges. If we lose wilderness, we lose forever the knowledge of what the world was and what it might, with understanding and loving husbandry, yet become. These are islands in time — with nothing to date them on the calendar of mankind. In these areas it is as though a person were looking backward into the ages and forward untold years. Here are bits of eternity, which have a preciousness beyond all accounting.
Harvey Broome (1902-1968) – co founder, The Wilderness Society, Quoted in The Book of Green Quotations, James Daley, 2009, p102

These are islands in time — with nothing to date them on the calendar of mankind. In these areas it is as though a person were looking backward into the ages and forward untold years. Here are bits of eternity, which have a preciousness beyond all accounting.
Harvey Broome (1902-1968) Quoted in Wilderness, Volumes 48-50, Wilderness Society, 1984, p 34

To me, a wilderness is where the flow of wildness is essentially uninterrupted by technology; without wilderness the world is a cage.
David Brower (1912-2000) Quoted in World in Their Hands, Original Thinkers, Doers, Fighters, and the Future of Conservation, Johnson, Falcon guides, June 2021, p. 156

My feeling is we need to save wilderness for its own sake, for the mysterious and complex knowledge it has within it. Thoreau was right when he said, “in wilderness is the preservation of the world.”
David Brower (1912-2000) Talking on the Water, J. White, Sierra Club Books, CA, 1994, p. 41.

If we are to have broad-thinking men and women of high mentality, of good physique and with a true perspective on life, we must allow our populace a communion with nature in areas of more or less wilderness condition.
Arthur Carhart (1892-1978) (U.S. Forest Service official and pioneer in wilderness preservation movement) Quoted in The Quiet Revolution: Grass Roots of today’s Wilderness Preservation Movement, Donald Baldwin, 1972, p. 102

There is a limit to the number of lands of shoreline on the lakes; there is a limit to the number of lakes in existence; there is a limit to the mountainous areas of the world. There are portions of natural senic beauty which are God-made, and . . . which of a right should be the property of all people.
Arthur Carhart (1892-1978) Quoted in This Land, A Guide to Central National Forests, Robert Mohlenbrock, University of California Press, 2006, p 132.

I held a blue flower in my hand, probably a wild aster, wondering what its name was, and then thought that human names for natural things are superfluous. Nature herself does not name them. The important thing is to know this flower, look at its color until the blends becomes as real as a keynote of music. Look at the exquisite yellow flowerets at the center, become very small with them. Be the flower, be the trees, the blowing grasses. Fly with the birds, jump with a squirrel!
Sally Carrighar (1898-1985) – Home to the Wilderness, a personal Journey, Penguin Publishing Group, 1974

The great purpose is to set aside a reasonable part of the vanishing wilderness, to make certain that generations of Americans yet unborn will know what it is to experience life on undeveloped, unoccupied land in the same form and character as the Creator fashioned it… It is a great spiritual experience. I never knew a man who took a bedroll into an Idaho mountainside and slept there under a star-studded summer sky who felt self-important that next morning. Unless we preserve some opportunity for future generations to have the same experience, we shall have dishonored our trust.
Senator Frank Church (1957-1981) Remarks delivered during debate of the Wilderness Act in 1961 Quoted in Endangered American Wilderness act of 1977, Hearings on S 1180, September 19 and 20, 1977, United States Senate committee on energy and Natural Resources, p. 45

The wilderness is a place of rest — not in the sense of being motionless, for the lure, after all, is to move, to round the next bend. The rest comes in the isolation from distractions, in the slowing of the daily centrifugal forces that keep us off balance.
David Douglas – (1799-1834) Scottish botanist, Wilderness Sojourn: Notes in the Desert Silence, reprinted by Harper Collins, 1989.

The Arctic has a call that is compelling. The distant mountains [of the Brooks Range in Alaska] make one want to go on and on over the next ridge and over the one beyond. The call is that of a wilderness known only to a few…This last American wilderness must remain sacrosanct.
William O. Douglas  (1898-1980) U.S. Supreme Court Justice), from a speech by Jimmy Carter on February 29, 1980

The wooing of the Earth thus implies much more than converting the wilderness into humanized environments. It means also preserving natural environments in which to experience mysteries transcending daily life and from which to recapture, in a Proustian kind of remembrance, the awareness of the cosmic forces that have shaped humankind.
Rene Dubos (1901- 1982) French-American microbiologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, “The Wooing of the Earth,” in EPA Journal, vol 7, 1981, p.9.

When all the dangerous cliffs are fenced off, all the trees that might fall on people are cut down, all of the insects that bite are poisoned… and all of the grizzlies are dead because they are occasionally dangerous, the wilderness will not be made safe. Rather, the safety will have destroyed the wilderness.
R. Yorke Edwards (1924-2011) Nature Canada, Vols 6-8, 1977, p, 40.

On the American continent, wilderness was quickly turned into a wrecker’s paradise, often confused with that ideal “garden” which was to replace all that was wild and uncontrolled.
John Hay (1915-2011) – The Immortal Wilderness, W.W Norton & Co, NY, 1987, p.15.

Nothing in wilderness escapes the universal interdependence. Nothing in it lacks response to the rhythms of the planet in the skies. Through their sentient and perceptive properties, the greater company of life shares in that capacity.
John Hay (1915-2011) – The Immortal Wilderness, W.W Norton & Co, NY, 1987.

There are occasions when you can hear the mysterious language of the Earth, in water, or coming through the trees, emanating from the mosses, seeping through the undercurrents of the soil, but you have to be willing to wait and receive.
John Hay (1915-2011) – The Immortal Wilderness, W.W Norton & Co, NY, 1987.

The wild and uncultivated is no longer needed in a world that only looks out the window at itself.
John Hay (1915-2011) – The Immortal Wilderness, W.W Norton & Co, NY, 1987. p38.

“If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson, on the signing of the Wilderness Act of 1964

No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength.
Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) – Lonesome Traveler, Grove Press, NY, NY, 1960, p.128

The wilderness and the idea of wilderness is one of the permanent homes of the human spirit.
Joseph Wood Krutch (1893-1970), Grand Canyon: Today And All Its Yesterdays. New York: W. Sloane Associates, 1958. 

Our remnants of wilderness will yield bigger values to the nation’s character and health than they will to its pocketbook, and to destroy them will be to admit that the latter are the only values that interest us.
Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) -” A Plea for Wilderness Hunting Grounds,” Outdoor Life, November 1925. Reproduced in Aldo Leopold’s Southwest, edited by David E. Brown & Neil B. Carmony, University of New Mexico Press, 1990, pg. 160-161.

Wilderness is the raw material out of which man has hammered the artifact called civilization.
Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) – Leopold, A. (1970). A Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation from Round River. United States: Ballantine Books, p. 264.

Thus always does history, whether of marsh or market place, end in paradox. The ultimate value in these marshes is wildness and the crane is wildness incarnate. But all conversation of wildness is self-defeating, for to cherish we must see and fondle, and when enough have seen and fondled, there is no wilderness left to cherish.
Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) Leopold, A. (1970). A Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation from Round River. United States: Ballantine Books, p. 107.

For unnumbered centuries of human history the wilderness has given way. The priority of industry has become dogma. Are we as yet sufficiently enlightened to realize that we must now challenge that dogma, or do without our wilderness? Do we realize that industry, which has been our good servant, might make a poor master?
Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) – A Plea for Wilderness Hunting Grounds, Outdoor Life, November 1925. Reproduced in Aldo Leopold’s Southwest, edited by David E. Brown & Neil B. Carmony, University of New Mexico Press, 1990, pg. 160-161.

The richest values of wilderness lie not in the days of Daniel Boone, nor even in the present, but rather in the future.
Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) – Quoted in The Great Wilderness Debate, Michael P. Nelson, University of GA press, 1998, p 190.

All conservation of wildness is self-defeating, for to cherish we must see and fondle, and when enough have seen and fondled, there is no wilderness left to cherish.
Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) – Leopold, A. (1970). A Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation from Round River. United States: Ballantine Books, p. 108.

The cultural value of wilderness boils down, in the last analysis, to a question of intellectual humility. The shallow-minded modern who has lost his rootage in the land assumes that he has already discovered what is important.
Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) – Leopold, A. (2020). A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There. United States: Oxford University Press, Inc, p.189.

In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.
Charles A. Lindbergh (1902 – 1974)  Life, “The Wisdom of Wilderness,” Vol 9, Number 25,  22 December 1967, p. 10.

We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and winding streams with tangled growth, as “wild.” Only to the white man was nature a “wilderness” and only to him was the land “infested” with “wild” animals and “savage” people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.
Luther Standing Bear (Native American author) Chief of the Lakota 1905 – 1939)  https://www.indigenouspeople.net/standbea.htm

There is just one hope of repulsing the tyrannical ambition of civilization to conquer every niche on the whole earth. That hope is the organization of spirited people who will fight for the freedom of the wilderness. In a civilization which requires most lives to be passed amid inordinate dissonance, pressure and intrusion, the chance of retiring now and then to the quietude and privacy of sylvan haunts becomes for some people a psychic necessity. The preservation of a few samples of undeveloped territory is one of the most clamant issues before us today. Just a few more years of hesitation and the only trace of that wilderness which has exerted such a fundamental influence in molding American character will lie in the musty pages of pioneer books…To avoid this catastrophe demands immediate action.
Robert Marshall -(1901-1939) co-founder, The Wilderness Society, “The Problem of the Wilderness, ” Scientific Monthly, February 1930, Quoted in National Wilderness Preservation Act. (1957). United States: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Finally, there are those whose chief purpose in visiting the forests is simply an escape from civilization. These people want to rest from the endless chain of mechanization and artificiality which bounds their lives. In the forest they temporarily abandon a routine to which they cannot become wholly reconciled, and return to that nature in which hundreds of generations of their ancestors were reared.
Robert Marshall – (1901-1939) The People’s Forests (1933) (2003)

For me, and for thousands with similar inclinations, the most important passion of life is the overpowering desire to escape periodically from the clutches of a mechanistic civilization. To us, the enjoyment of solicitude, complete independence and the beauty of undefiled panoramas is absolutely essential to happiness.
Robert Marshall – (1901-1939) Quoted in Search for Solitude, United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, June 1970. Inside Cover.

To countless people the wilderness provides the ultimate delight because it combines the thrills of jeopardy and beauty. It is the last stand for that glorious adventure into the physically unknown that was commonplace in the lives of our ancestors and has always constituted a major factor in the happiness of many exploratory souls.
Robert Marshall -(1901-1939) “The Universe of Wilderness is Vanishing,” Trends, Park Practice, 1970, p12.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
John Muir (1838-1914) The Wilderness World of John Muir, ed. Edwin Way Teale, Mariner Books, 2001, p. 312

In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world—the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware.
John Muir (1838-1914) – Alaska Fragment (1890)

Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.
John Muir (1838-1914) – John Muir’s letter to wife Louie, July 1888, Life and Letters of John Muir (1924), Chapter 15.

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.
John Muir (1838-1914) Our National Parks, 1901, Chapter 1

Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grass and gentians of glacier meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of Nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail. … The petty discomforts that beset the awkward guest, the unskilled camper, are quickly forgotten, while all that is precious remains. Fears vanish as soon as one is fairly free in the wilderness.
John Muir (1838-1914) “The Yellowstone National Park”, The Atlantic Monthly, volume LXXXI, number 486 (April 1898) pages 509-522 (at pages 515-516); modified slightly and reprinted in Our National Parks (1901), chapter 2: The Yellowstone National Park

Man must be made conscious of his origin as a child of Nature. Brought into right relationship with the wilderness he would see that he was not a separate entity endowed with a divine right to subdue his fellow creatures and destroy the common heritage, but rather an integral part of a harmonious whole.
John Muir (1838-1914) Quoted in The Life of John Muir, Linne Marsh Wolfe, Part V, 1875-1887, University of Wisconsin Press, 1945, p 188.  Wolfe does not source or footnote the quote. 

Wilderness itself is the basis of all our civilization. I wonder if we have enough reverence for life to concede to wilderness the right to live on?
Margaret (Mardy) Murie, (1902-2003) Johnson, S. (2021). World in Their Hands: Original Thinkers, Doers, Fighters, and the Future of Conservation. United States: Falcon Guides, p. 55

There is growing awareness of the beauty of country, a tremendous impetus in public appreciation of wild country. There is building up a sincere desire to keep some of it for all time. People are beginning to value highly the fact that a river runs unimpeded for a distance in its natural course. That very fact has beauty for them. They are beginning to obtain deep satisfaction from the fact that a herd of elk may be observed in back country, on ancestral ranges, where the Indians once hunted them. They are beginning to seek the healing relaxation that is possible in wild country… In short, they want it.
Olaus J. Murie (1889-1963) Quoted in Conservation Quotes, National Park Service, p. 24, 1953

The wilderness holds answers to questions man has not yet learned to ask.
Nancy Newhall (1908-1974) – from “This is the American Earth.” quoted in John McPhee’s, Encounters with the Archdruid, 1971

Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium.
Sigurd F. Olson (1899-1982) – We Need Wilderness,” National Parks Magazine, January–March 1946

How often we speak of the great silences of the wilderness and of the importance of preserving them and the wonder and peace to be found there. When I think of them, I see the lakes and rivers of the North, the muskegs and expenses of tundra, the barren lands beyond all roads. I see the mountain ranges of the West and the high, rolling ridges of the Appalachians. I picture the deserts of the Southwest and their brilliant panoramas of color, the impenetrable swamp lands of the South. They will always be there and their beauty may not change, but should their silences be broken, they will never be the same.
Sigurd F. Olson (1899-1982) – Listening Point, Alfred Knopf, NY, NY, 1958

I have discovered in a lifetime of traveling in primitive regions, a lifetime of seeing people living in the wilderness and using it, that there is a hard core of wilderness need in everyone, a core that makes its spiritual values a basic human necessity. There is no hiding it….Unless we can preserve places where the endless spiritual needs of man can be fulfilled and nourished, we will destroy our culture and ourselves.
Sigurd F. Olson (1899-1982) – Address to Sierra Club Conference, 1965, quoted on http://listeningpointfoundation.org/sig-olson/

Simplicity in all things is the secret of the wilderness and one of its most valuable lessons. It is what we leave behind that is important. I think the matter of simplicity goes further than just food, equipment, and unnecessary gadgets; it goes into the matter of thoughts and objectives as well. When in the wilds, we must not carry our problems with us or the joy is lost.
Sigurd F. Olson (1899-1982) – Reflections from the North Country, Knopf, NY, NY, 1976

Beauty is composed of many things and never stands alone. It is part of horizons, blue in the distance, great primeval silences, knowledge of all things of the earth. It embodies the hopes and dreams of those who have gone before, including the spirit world; it is so fragile it can be destroyed by a sound or thought. It may be infinitesimally small or encompass the universe itself. It comes in a swift conception wherever nature has not been disturbed.
Sigurd F. Olson (1899-1982) – Reflections from the North Country, Knopf, NY, NY, 1976.

There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. There is a delight in the hardy life of the open… Apart from this, yet mingled with it, is the strong attraction of the silent places, of the large tropic moons, and the splendor of the new stars; where the wanderer sees the awful glory of sunrise and sunset in the wide waste spaces of the earth, unworn of man, and changed only by the slow change of the ages through time everlasting.
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) – “In Africa,” Scribner’s Magazine, Khartoum, March 15, 1910

There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) Speech by Theodore Roosevelt in Osawatomie, Kansas, August 31, 1910

When man obliterates wilderness, he repudiates the life force, which put him on this planed in a bad way, and in a truly terrifying sense, he is on his own.
J.H. Rush (1868-1931) quoted by David R. Brower in an interview “Online with David Kupfer” August 5, 2000

Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs, —
To the silent wilderness,
Where the soul need not repress
Its music.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) – “To Jane, The Invitation,” c.1820

The more civilized man becomes, the more he needs and craves a great background of forest wildness, to which he may return like a contrite prodigal from the husks of an artificial life.
Ellen Burns Sherman  (1867-1956) – On the Manuscripts of God, Abingdon Press, NY, 1918, p. 96.

I try to hold both history and wilderness in mind, that my poems may the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times.
Gary Snyder (1930 – ) – Statement for the Paterson Society” (1961), as quoted in David Kherdian, Six Poets of the San Francisco Renaissance: Portraits and Checklists (1967), p. 52

Wildness is not just the “preservation of the world,” it is the world
Gary Snyder  (1930 – ) – The Practice of the Wild, “The Etiquette of Freedom,” Counterpoint, Berkeley, CA, 1990, p 6.

How much wilderness do the wilderness-lovers want? ask those who would mine and dig and cut and dam in such sanctuary spots as these. The answer is easy: Enough so that there will be in the years ahead a little relief, a little quiet, a little relaxation, for any of our increasing millions who need and want it. That means we need as much wilderness as can still be saved. There isn’t much left, and there is no more where the old open spaces came from.
Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) Stegner, W. (1955). This is Dinosaur. United States: Knopf, p. 15

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clean air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence, so that never again will Americans be free in their own country from the noise, the exhausts, the stinks of human and automotive waste.
Wallace Stegner – (1909-1993) The Wilderness Letter, written to the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission, 1962 and subsequently in The Sound of Mountain Water (1969)

We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.
Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) – the Wilderness Letter – Link

Generally speaking, a howling wilderness does not howl: it is the imagination of the traveler that does the howling.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) – Allegash & East Branch – Part 5

It is in vain to dream of a wildness distant from ourselves. There is none such.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) – Journal, 30 August 1856

In Wildness is the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) – Essay – Walking

It is imperative to maintain portions of the wilderness untouched so that a tree will rot where it falls, a waterfall will pour its curve without generating electricity, and a trumpeter swan may float on uncontaminated water—and moderns may at least see what their ancestors knew in their nerves and blood.
Bernard De Voto (1897-1955)- Quoted in Wilderness Preservation System Hearings Before the United States House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, Subcommittee on Public Lands, Eighty-Seventh Congress, First Session, Eighty-Seventh Congress, Second Session · Part 3, 1961, p.934

Love is a powerful tool, and maybe, just maybe, before the last little town is corrupted and the last of the unroaded and undeveloped wildness is given over to dreams of profit, maybe it will be love, finally, love for the land for its own sake and for what it holds of beauty and joy and spiritual redemption that will make [wilderness] not a battlefield but a revelation.
T.H. Watkins (1936-2000) – Redrock Chronicles: Saving Wild Utah, 2000, p. 155

Without enough wilderness America will change. Democracy, with its myriad personalities and increasing sophistication, must be fibred and vitalized by regular contact with outdoor growths–animals, trees, sun, warmth and free skies–or it will dwindle and pale.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) Quoted in Pamphlets on Conservation of Natural Resources Volume 25, 1909, p 15.

The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint, that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come. To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause within our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace. Wilderness lives by this same grace.
Terry Tempest Williams (1955 -) Michael Austin, Voice in the Wilderness, Conversations with Terry Tempest Williams, Utah State University Press, 2006

If you know wilderness in the way that you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go…. This is the story of our past and it will be the story of our future.
Terry Tempest Williams (1955 -)- Testimony: Writers of the West Speak on Behalf of Utah Wilderness, Compiled by Terry Tempest Williams and Stephen Trimble (1996)

To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.
Terry Tempest Williams (1955 -) testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Forest & Public Lands Management regarding the Utah Public Lands Management Act of 1995. Washington, D.C. July 13, 1995.

Perhaps the Wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silence that reminds us we live by grace.
Terry Tempest Williams (1955 -) -https://sites.google.com/site/thoreauandwilderness/American-Nature-Writing/terry-tempest-williams

The wilderness that has come to us out of the eternity of the past, we have the boldness to project into the eternity of the future.
Howard Zahniser (1906-1954) testimony in Wilderness Preservation System hearing (1964). Nov 9, 2014

I believe that at least in the present phase of our civilization we have a profound, a fundamental need for areas of wilderness – a need that is not only recreational and spiritual but also educational and scientific, and withal essential to a true understanding of ourselves, our culture, our own natures, and our place in all nature.

This need is for areas of the earth within which we stand without our mechanisms that make us immediate masters over our environment – areas of wild nature in which we sense ourselves to be, what in fact I believe we are, dependent members of an interdependent community of living creatures that together derive their existence from the Sun.

By very definition this wilderness is a need. The idea of wilderness as an area without man’s influence is man’s own concept. Its values are human values. Its preservation is a purpose that arises out of man’s own sense of his fundamental needs.
Howard Zahniser (1906-1954) – The Need for Wilderness Areas, The Wilderness Society, 1956

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.
Howard Zahniser (1906-1954) The Wilderness Act of 1964, The 1964 Wilderness Act, written by The Wilderness Society’s Howard Zahniser created the National Wilderness Preservation System.

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