Wilderness or wildland is a natural environment on Earth that has not been significantly modified by human activity. It may also be defined as: "The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet—those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with roads, pipelines or other industrial infrastructure." The term has traditionally referred to terrestrial environments, though growing attention is being placed on marine wilderness. Recent maps of wilderness suggest it covers roughly one quarter of Earth's terrestrial surface, but is being rapidly degraded by human activity. Even less wilderness remains in the ocean, with only 13.2% free from intense human activity.
Some governments establish them by law or administrative acts, usually in land tracts that have not been modified by human action in great measure. The main feature of them is that human motorized activity is significantly restricted. These actions seek not only to preserve what already exists, but also to promote and advance a natural expression and development. Wilderness areas can be found in preserves, conservation preserves, National Forests, National Parks and even in urban areas along rivers, gulches or otherwise undeveloped areas. These areas are considered important for the survival of certain species, biodiversity, ecological studies, conservation, solitude, and recreation. Wilderness is deeply valued for cultural, spiritual, moral, and aesthetic reasons. Some nature writers believe wilderness areas are vital for the human spirit and creativity. They may also preserve historic genetic traits and provide habitat for wild flora and fauna that may be difficult to recreate in zoos, arboretums or laboratories.
The word wilderness derives from the notion of "wildness"—in other words, that which is not controlled by humans. The mere presence or activity of people does not disqualify an area from being "wilderness." Many ecosystems that are, or have been, inhabited or influenced by activities of people may still be considered "wild." This way of looking at wilderness includes areas within which natural processes operate without human interference.
The WILD Foundation states that wilderness areas have two dimensions: they must be biologically intact and legally protected. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) classifies wilderness at two levels, Ia (Strict Nature Reserves) and Ib (Wilderness Areas). Activities on the margins of specific wilderness areas, such as fire suppression and the interruption of animal migration also affect the interior of wildernesses.
Especially in wealthier, industrialized nations, it has a specific legal meaning as well: as land where development is prohibited by law. Many nations have designated wilderness, including the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. Many new parks are currently being planned and legally passed by various Parliaments and Legislatures at the urging of dedicated individuals around the globe who believe that "in the end, dedicated, inspired people empowered by effective legislation will ensure that the spirit and services of wilderness will thrive and permeate our society, preserving a world that we are proud to hand over to those who come after us."
Looked at through the lens of the visual arts, nature and wildness have been important subjects in various epochs of world history. An early tradition of landscape art occurred in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The tradition of representing nature as it is became one of the aims of Chinese painting and was a significant influence in Asian art. Artists in the tradition of Shan shui (lit. mountain-water-picture), learned to depict mountains and rivers "from the perspective of nature as a whole and on the basis of their understanding of the laws of nature… as if seen through the eyes of a bird." In the 13th century, Shih Erh Chi recommended avoiding painting "scenes lacking any places made inaccessible by nature."
For most of human history, the greater part of the Earth's terrain was wilderness, and human attention was concentrated in settled areas. The first known laws to protect parts of nature date back to the Babylonian Empire and Chinese Empire. Ashoka, the Great Mauryan King, defined the first laws in the world to protect flora and fauna in Edicts of Ashoka around 3rd Century B.C. In the Middle Ages, the Kings of England initiated one of the world’s first conscious efforts to protect natural areas. They were motivated by a desire to be able to hunt wild animals in private hunting preserves rather than a desire to protect wilderness. Nevertheless, in order to have animals to hunt they would have to protect wildlife from subsistence hunting and the land from villagers gathering firewood. Similar measures were introduced in other European countries.
The idea of wilderness having intrinsic value emerged in the Western world in the 19th century. British artists John Constable and J. M. W. Turner turned their attention to capturing the beauty of the natural world in their paintings. Prior to that, paintings had been primarily of religious scenes or of human beings. William Wordsworth’s poetry described the wonder of the natural world, which had formerly been viewed as a threatening place. Increasingly the valuing of nature became an aspect of Western culture.
By the mid-19th century, in Germany, "Scientific Conservation," as it was called, advocated "the efficient utilization of natural resources through the application of science and technology." Concepts of forest management based on the German approach were applied in other parts of the world, but with varying degrees of success. Over the course of the 19th century wilderness became viewed not as a place to fear but a place to enjoy and protect, hence came the conservation movement in the latter half of the 19th century. Rivers were rafted and mountains were climbed solely for the sake of recreation, not to determine their geographical context.
In 1861, following an intense lobbying by artists (painters), the French Waters and Forests Military Agency set an « artistic reserve » in Fontainebleau State Forest. With a total of 1 097 hectares, it is known to be the first World nature reserve.
Global conservation became an issue at the time of the dissolution of the British Empire in Africa in the late 1940s. The British established great wildlife preserves there. As before, this interest in conservation had an economic motive: in this case, big game hunting. Nevertheless, this led to growing recognition in the 1950s and the early 1960s of the need to protect large spaces for wildlife conservation worldwide. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), founded in 1961, grew to be one of the largest conservation organizations in the world.
Early conservationists advocated the creation of a legal mechanism by which boundaries could be set on human activities in order to preserve natural and unique lands for the enjoyment and use of future generations. This profound shift in wilderness thought reached a pinnacle in the US with the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964, which allowed for parts of U.S. National Forests to be designated as "wilderness preserves". Similar acts, such as the 1975 Eastern Wilderness Act, followed.
Nevertheless, initiatives for wilderness conservation continue to increase. There are a growing number of projects to protect tropical rainforests through conservation initiatives. There are also large-scale projects to conserve wilderness regions, such as Canada's Boreal Forest Conservation Framework. The Framework calls for conservation of 50 percent of the 6,000,000 square kilometres of boreal forest in Canada's north. In addition to the World Wildlife Fund, organizations such as the Wildlife Conservation Society, the WILD Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, The Wilderness Society (United States) and many others are active in such conservation efforts.
The 21st century has seen another slight shift in wilderness thought and theory. It is now understood that simply drawing lines around a piece of land and declaring it a wilderness does not necessarily make it a wilderness. All landscapes are intricately connected and what happens outside a wilderness certainly affects what happens inside it. For example, air pollution from Los Angeles and the California Central Valley affects Kern Canyon and Sequoia National Park. The national park has miles of "wilderness" but the air is filled with pollution from the valley. This gives rise to the paradox of what a wilderness really is; a key issue in 21st century wilderness thought.
The creation of National Parks, beginning in the 19th century, preserved some especially attractive and notable areas, but the pursuits of commerce, lifestyle, and recreation combined with increases in human population have continued to result in human modification of relatively untouched areas. Such human activity often negatively impacts native flora and fauna. As such, to better protect critical habitats and preserve low-impact recreational opportunities, legal concepts of "wilderness" were established in many countries, beginning with the United States (see below).
The first National Park was Yellowstone, which was signed into law by U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant on 1 March 1872. The Act of Dedication declared Yellowstone a land "hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United States, and dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people."
The U.S. concept of national parks soon caught on in Canada, which created Banff National Park in 1885, at the same time as the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway was being built. The creation of this and other parks showed a growing appreciation of wild nature, but also an economic reality. The railways wanted to entice people to travel west. Parks such as Banff and Yellowstone gained favor as the railroads advertised travel to "the great wild spaces" of North America. When outdoorsman Teddy Roosevelt became president of the United States, he began to enlarge the U.S. National Parks system, and established the National Forest system.
By the 1920s, travel across North America by train to experience the "wilderness" (often viewing it only through windows) had become very popular. This led to the commercialization of some of Canada's National Parks with the building of great hotels such as the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise.
Despite their similar name, national parks in England and Wales are quite different from national parks in many other countries. Unlike most other countries, in England and Wales, designation as a national park may include substantial settlements and human land uses which are often integral parts of the landscape, and land within a national park remains largely in private ownership. Each park is operated by its own national park authority.
By the later 19th century it had become clear that in many countries wild areas had either disappeared or were in danger of disappearing. This realization gave rise to the conservation movement in the United States, partly through the efforts of writers and activists such as John Burroughs, Aldo Leopold, and John Muir, and politicians such as U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt.
The idea of protecting nature for nature's sake began to gain more recognition in the 1930s with American writers like Aldo Leopold, calling for a "land ethic" and urging wilderness protection. It had become increasingly clear that wild spaces were disappearing rapidly and that decisive action was needed to save them. Wilderness preservation is central to deep ecology; a philosophy that believes in an inherent worth of all living beings, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs.
Two different groups had emerged within the US environmental movement by the early 20th century: the conservationists and the preservationists. The initial consensus among conservationists was split into "utilitarian conservationists" later to be referred to as conservationists, and "aesthetic conservationists" or preservationists. The main representative for the former was Gifford Pinchot, first Chief of the United States Forest Service, and they focused on the proper use of nature, whereas the preservationists sought the protection of nature from use. Put another way, conservation sought to regulate human use while preservation sought to eliminate human impact altogether. The management of US public lands during the years 1960s and 70s reflected these dual visions, with conservationists dominating the Forest Service, and preservationists the Park Service
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) classifies wilderness at two levels, Ia (Strict Nature Preserves) and Ib (Wilderness areas). For the global standard of wilderness (1b) protection, governance and management, read Wilderness Protected Areas: Management Guidelines for IUCN Category 1b Protected Areas.
There have been recent calls for the World Heritage Convention to better protect wilderness and to include the word wilderness in their selection criteria for Natural Heritage Sites
Forty-eight countries have wilderness areas established via legislative designation as IUCN protected area management Category 1b sites that do not overlap with any other IUCN designation. They are: Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Canada, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Finland, French Guyana, Greenland, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Northern Mariana Islands, Portugal, Seychelles, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tanzania, United States of America, and Zimbabwe. At publication, there are 2,992 marine and terrestrial wilderness areas registered with the IUCN as solely Category 1b sites.
Twenty-two other countries have wilderness areas. These wilderness areas are established via administrative designation or wilderness zones within protected areas. Whereas the above listing contains countries with wilderness exclusively designated as Category 1b sites, some of the below-listed countries contain protected areas with multiple management categories including Category 1b. They are: Argentina, Bhutan, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland, Uganda, Ukraine, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Venezuela, and Zambia.
Since 1861, the French Waters and Forests Military Agency (Administration des Eaux et Forêts) put a strong protection on what was called the « artistic reserve » in Fontainebleau State Forest. With a total of 1 097 hectares, it is known to be the first World nature reserve.
Then in the 1950s, Integral Biological Reserves (Réserves Biologiques Intégrales, RBI) are dedicated to man free ecosystem evolution, on the contrary of Managed Biological reserves (Réserves Biologiques Dirigées, RBD) where a specific management is applied to conserve vulnerable species or threatened habitats.
Integral Biological Reserves occurs in French State Forests or City Forests and are therefore managed by the National Forests Office. In such reserves, all harvests coupe are forbidden excepted exotic species elimination or track safety works to avoid fallen tree risk to visitors (already existing tracks in or on the edge of the reserve).
At the end of 2014, there were 60 Integral Biological Reserves in French State Forests for a total area of 111 082 hectares and 10 in City Forests for a total of 2 835 hectares.
In Greece there are some parks called "ethniki drimoi" (εθνικοί δρυμοί, national forests) that are under protection of the Greek government. Such parks include: Olympus, Parnassos and Parnitha National Parks.
Due to Russia's size and in comparison non-dense population settlement, as well as of lack of infrastucture and the decades-long iron curtain the country is considered as one of the least explored areas and most natural places in the world.
There are seven wilderness areas in New Zealand as defined by the National Parks Act 1980 and the Conservation Act 1987 that fall well within the IUCN definition. Wilderness areas cannot have any human intervention and can only have indigenous species re-introduced into the area if it is compatible with conservation management strategies.
In New Zealand wilderness areas are remote blocks of land that have high natural character. The Conservation Act 1987 prevents any access by vehicles and livestock, the construction of tracks and buildings, and all indigenous natural resources are protected. They are generally over 40,000 ha in size.
In the United States, a Wilderness Area is an area of federal land set aside by an act of Congress. Human activities in wilderness areas are restricted to scientific study and non-mechanized recreation; horses are permitted but mechanized vehicles and equipment, such as cars and bicycles, are not.
The United States was the first country to officially designate land as "wilderness" through the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act was—and is still—an important part of wilderness designation because it created the legal definition of wilderness and founded the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Wilderness Act defines wilderness as "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammelled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."
Wilderness designation helps preserve the natural state of the land and protects flora and fauna by prohibiting development and providing for non-mechanized recreation only.
The first administratively protected wilderness area in the United States was the Gila National Forest. In 1922, Aldo Leopold, then a ranking member of the U.S. Forest Service, proposed a new management strategy for the Gila National Forest. His proposal was adopted in 1924, and 750 thousand acres of the Gila National Forest became the Gila Wilderness.
'The Great Swamp in New Jersey was the first formally designated wilderness refuge in the United States. It was declared a wildlife refuge on 3 November 1960. In 1966 it was declared a National Natural Landmark and, in 1968, it was given wilderness status. Properties in the swamp had been acquired by a small group of residents of the area, who donated the assembled properties to the federal government as a park for perpetual protection. Today the refuge amounts to 7,600 acres (31 km2) that are within thirty miles of Manhattan.
While wilderness designations were originally granted by an Act of Congress for Federal land that retained a "primeval character", meaning that it had not suffered from human habitation or development, the Eastern Wilderness Act of 1975 extended the protection of the NWPS to areas in the eastern States that were not initially considered for inclusion in the Wilderness Act. This act allowed lands that did not meet the constraints of size, roadlessness, or human impact to be designated as wilderness areas under the belief that they could be returned to a "primeval" state through preservation.
Approximately 107,500,000 acres (435,000 km2) are designated as wilderness in the United States. This accounts for 4.82% of the country's total land area; however, 54% of that amount is found in Alaska (recreation and development in Alaskan wilderness is often less restrictive), while only 2.58% of the lower continental United States is designated as wilderness. Following the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 there are 756 separate wilderness designations in the United States ranging in size from Florida's Pelican Island at 5 acres (20,000 m2) to Alaska's Wrangell-Saint Elias at 9,078,675 acres (36,740.09 km2).
In Western Australia, a Wilderness Area is an area that has a wilderness quality rating of 12 or greater and meets a minimum size threshold of 8,000 hectares in temperate areas or 20,000 hectares in arid and tropical areas. A wilderness area is gazetted under section 62(1)(a) of the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 by the Minister on any land that is vested in the Conservation Commission of Western Australia.
At the forefront of the international wilderness movement has been The WILD Foundation, its founder Ian Player and its network of sister and partner organizations around the globe. The pioneer World Wilderness Congress in 1977 introduced the wilderness concept as an issue of international importance, and began the process of defining the term in biological and social contexts. Today, this work is continued by many international groups who still look to the World Wilderness Congress as the international venue for wilderness and to The WILD Foundation network for wilderness tools and action. The WILD Foundation also publishes the standard references for wilderness professionals and others involved in the issues: Wilderness Management: Stewardship and Protection of Resources and Values, the International Journal of Wilderness, A Handbook on International Wilderness Law and Policy and Protecting Wild Nature on Native Lands are the backbone of information and management tools for international wilderness issues.
The Wilderness Specialist Group within the World Commission on Protected Areas (WTF/WCPA) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) plays a critical role in defining legal and management guidelines for wilderness at the international level and is also a clearing-house for information on wilderness issues. The IUCN Protected Areas Classification System defines wilderness as "A large area of unmodified or slightly modified land, and/or sea retaining its natural character and influence, without permanent or significant habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural condition (Category 1b)." The WILD Foundation founded the WTF/WCPA in 2002 and remains co-chair.
The most recent efforts to map wilderness show that less than one quarter (~23%) of the world's wilderness area now remains, and that there have been catastrophic declines in wilderness extent over the last two decades. Over 3 million square kilometers (10 percent) of wilderness was converted to human land-uses. The Amazon and Congo rain forests suffered the most loss. Human pressure is starting to extend into almost every corner of the planet. The loss of wilderness could have serious implications for biodiversity conservation.
A previous study, Wilderness: Earth's Last Wild Places, carried out by Conservation International, 46% of the world's land mass is wilderness. For purposes of this report, "wilderness" was defined as an area that "has 70% or more of its original vegetation intact, covers at least 10,000 square kilometers (3,900 sq mi) and must have fewer than five people per square kilometer." However, an IUCN/UNEP report published in 2003, found that only 10.9% of the world's land mass is currently a Category 1 Protected Area, that is, either a strict nature reserve (5.5%) or protected wilderness (5.4%). Such areas remain relatively untouched by humans. Of course, there are large tracts of lands in National Parks and other protected areas that would also qualify as wilderness. However, many protected areas have some degree of human modification or activity, so a definitive estimate of true wilderness is difficult.
The Wildlife Conservation Society generated a human footprint using a number of indicators, the absence of which indicate wildness: human population density, human access via roads and rivers, human infrastructure for agriculture and settlements and the presence of industrial power (lights visible from space). The society estimates that 26% of the Earth's land mass falls into the category of "Last of the wild." The wildest regions of the world include the Arctic Tundra, the Siberia Taiga, the Amazonia Rainforest, the Tibetan Plateau, the Australia Outback and deserts such as the Sahara, and the Gobi. However, from the 1970s, numerous geoglyphs have been discovered on deforested land in the Amazon rainforest, leading to claims about Pre-Columbian civilizations. The BBC's Unnatural Histories claimed that the Amazon rainforest, rather than being a pristine wilderness, has been shaped by man for at least 11,000 years through practices such as forest gardening and terra preta.
It should be noted that the percentage of land area designated "wilderness" does not necessarily reflect a measure of its biodiversity. Of the last natural wilderness areas, the taiga—which is mostly wilderness—represents 11% of the total land mass in the Northern Hemisphere. Tropical rainforest represent a further 7% of the world's land base. Estimates of the Earth's remaining wilderness underscore the rate at which these lands are being developed, with dramatic declines in biodiversity as a consequence.
The American concept of wilderness has been criticized by some nature writers. For example, William Cronon writes that what he calls a wilderness ethic or cult may "teach us to be dismissive or even contemptuous of such humble places and experiences", and that "wilderness tends to privilege some parts of nature at the expense of others", using as an example "the mighty canyon more inspiring than the humble marsh." This is most clearly visible with the fact that nearly all U.S. National Parks preserve spectacular canyons and mountains, and it was not until the 1940s that a swamp became a national park—the Everglades. In the mid-20th century national parks started to protect biodiversity, not simply attractive scenery.
Cronon also believes the passion to save wilderness "poses a serious threat to responsible environmentalism" and writes that it allows people to "give ourselves permission to evade responsibility for the lives we actually lead....to the extent that we live in an urban-industrial civilization but at the same time pretend to ourselves that our real home is in the wilderness".
Michael Pollan has argued that the wilderness ethic leads people to dismiss areas whose wildness is less than absolute. In his book Second Nature, Pollan writes that "once a landscape is no longer 'virgin' it is typically written off as fallen, lost to nature, irredeemable." Another challenge to the conventional notion of wilderness comes from Robert Winkler in his book, Going Wild: Adventures with Birds in the Suburban Wilderness. "On walks in the unpeopled parts of the suburbs," Winkler writes, "I’ve witnessed the same wild creatures, struggles for survival, and natural beauty that we associate with true wilderness." Attempts have been made, as in the Pennsylvania Scenic Rivers Act, to distinguish "wild" from various levels of human influence: in the Act, "wild rivers" are "not impounded", "usually not accessible except by trail", and their watersheds and shorelines are "essentially primitive".
Another source of criticism is that the criteria for wilderness designation is vague and open to interpretation. For example, the Wilderness Act states that wilderness must be roadless. The definition given for roadless is "the absences of roads which have been improved and maintained by mechanical means to insure relatively regular and continuous use." However, there have been added sub-definitions that have, in essence, made this standard unclear and open to interpretation.
Coming from a different direction, some criticism from the Deep Ecology movement argues against conflating "wilderness" with "wilderness reservations", viewing the latter term as an oxymoron that, by allowing the law as a human construct to define nature, unavoidably voids the very freedom and independence of human control that defines wilderness. True wilderness requires the ability of life to undergo speciation with as little interference from humanity as possible. Anthropologist and scholar on wilderness Layla Abdel-Rahim argues that it is necessary to understand the principles that govern the economies of mutual aid and diversification in wilderness from a non-anthropocentric perspective.
The Ansel Adams Wilderness is a wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada of California, USA. The wilderness is part of the Sierra (majority of the wilderness) and Inyo National Forests. The wilderness spans 231,533 acres (93,698 ha). Yosemite National Park lies to the north and northwest, while the John Muir Wilderness lies to the south.Backpacking (wilderness)
Backpacking is the outdoor recreation of carrying gear on one's back, while hiking for more than a day. It is often but not always an extended journey, and may or may not involve camping outdoors. In North America tenting is common, where simple shelters and mountain huts widely found in Europe are rare. In New Zealand, tramping is the term applied though overnight huts are frequently used. Hill walking is an equivalent in Britain (but this can also refer to a day walk), though backpackers make use of all kinds of accommodation, in addition to camping. Backpackers use simple huts in South Africa. Similar terms used in other countries are trekking and bushwalking.
Backpacking as a method of travel is a different activity, which mainly utilizes public transport during a journey which can last months.Battle of the Wilderness
The Battle of the Wilderness, fought May 5–7, 1864, was the first battle of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Virginia Overland Campaign against Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War. Both armies suffered heavy casualties, around 5,000 men killed in total, a harbinger of a bloody war of attrition by Grant against Lee's army and, eventually, the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia. The battle was tactically inconclusive, as Grant disengaged and continued his offensive.
Grant attempted to move quickly through the dense underbrush of the Wilderness of Spotsylvania, but Lee launched two of his corps on parallel roads to intercept him. On the morning of May 5, the Union V Corps under Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren attacked the Confederate Second Corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, on the Orange Turnpike. That afternoon the Third Corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. A. P. Hill, encountered Brig. Gen. George W. Getty's division (VI Corps) and Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock's II Corps on the Orange Plank Road. Fighting until dark was fierce but inconclusive as both sides attempted to maneuver in the dense woods.
At dawn on May 6, Hancock attacked along the Plank Road, driving Hill's Corps back in confusion, but the First Corps of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet arrived in time to prevent the collapse of the Confederate right flank. Longstreet followed up with a surprise flanking attack from an unfinished railroad bed that drove Hancock's men back to the Brock Road, but the momentum was lost when Longstreet was wounded by his own men. An evening attack by Brig. Gen. John B. Gordon against the Union right flank caused consternation at Union headquarters, but the lines stabilized and fighting ceased. On May 7, Grant disengaged and moved to the southeast, intending to leave the Wilderness to interpose his army between Lee and Richmond, leading to the bloody Battle of Spotsylvania Court HouseCoso Range Wilderness
The Coso Range Wilderness is a protected wilderness area in California in the northern end of the Coso Range.The area was designated as wilderness by the California Desert Protection Act of 1994 and contains Joshua trees, creosote, and cactus as well as old mining areas.Desolation Wilderness
The Desolation Wilderness is a 63,960-acre (258.8 km2) federally protected wilderness area in the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, in El Dorado County, California. The crest of the Sierra Nevada runs through it, just west of Lake Tahoe.Ghost River Wilderness Area
The Ghost River Wilderness Area is a provincially designated wilderness area in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta. It was established in 1967 and it, as one of the three Wilderness Areas of Alberta, has the strictest form of government protection available in Canada. All development is forbidden and only travel by foot is permitted. Hunting and fishing are not allowed. The other two Wilderness Areas are White Goat Wilderness Area and Siffleur Wilderness Area and together the three areas total 249,548.80 acres (100,988.82 ha).Situated west of the city of Calgary and bordering Banff National Park, the Ghost Wilderness spans the area north of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) along the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains up to the Red Deer River. It lies just slightly north of Lake Minnewanka. Mountains rise to 3,353 metres (11,001 ft). The area has rugged mountains, glacier-carved valleys, mountain lakes, and alpine meadows. There are two distinct vegetation zones. Above 2,100 metres (6,900 ft), the tree line, are grasses, sedges and wildflowers. Below that are subalpine forests of spruce, fir, and lodgepole pine. There are many rare species of butterflies. Animals include Bighorn Sheep, deer, moose, cougars, bears, wild horses, and timber wolves. The area is a world-class venue for ice climbing.The area was also a filming location for the Academy Award-winning 1994 epic drama film Legends of the Fall.John Muir Wilderness
The John Muir Wilderness is a wilderness area that extends along the crest of the Sierra Nevada of California for 90 miles (140 km), in the Inyo and Sierra National Forests. Established in 1964 by the Wilderness Act and named for naturalist John Muir, it contains 581,000 acres (2,350 km2). The wilderness lies along the eastern escarpment of the Sierra from near Mammoth Lakes and Devils Postpile National Monument in the north, to Cottonwood Pass near Mount Whitney in the south. The wilderness area also spans the Sierra crest north of Kings Canyon National Park, and extends on the west side of the park down to the Monarch Wilderness.Kwadacha Wilderness Provincial Park
Kwadacha Wilderness Provincial Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada. It is part of the larger Muskwa-Kechika Management Area, which include to the north of the Kwadacha the Northern Rocky Mountains Provincial Park and Stone Mountain Provincial Park.List of U.S. Wilderness Areas
Four federal agencies of the Federal Government of the United States administer the National Wilderness Preservation System, which includes 765 Wildernesses and 109,129,657 acres (441,632.05 km2) as of 2016. These agencies are:
United States Forest Service
United States National Park Service
United States Bureau of Land Management
United States Fish and Wildlife ServiceThis is an area larger than Iraq or the state of California. In Alaska, there are 57,425,569 acres (232,393.03 km2) of wilderness. This represents about 52% of the wilderness area in the United States. The National Park Service (NPS) has oversight of 43,890,500 acres (177,619 km2) of wilderness at 60 locations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has responsibility for 20,702,350 acres (83,779.4 km2) in 71 areas. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees 8,726,011 acres (35,312.91 km2) at 222 unique sites. The Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Forest Service oversees 36,160,078 acres (146,334.64 km2) of wilderness areas in 442 areas. Some wilderness areas are managed by multiple agencies, so the above totals exceed the actual number of units (759) in the system. In addition, some of the 60 NPS areas with wilderness have multiple units designated as such (for example, Lake Mead National Recreation Area).
Some areas are designated wilderness by state or tribal governments. These are not governed by the Federal National Wilderness Preservation System.
The following sortable table lists all U.S. areas that have been designated by the United States Congress under the Wilderness Act. The listed designation date is the date that the wilderness was signed into law. Some areas have been expanded or otherwise changed since the original designation date. For more information about a specific area, see the wilderness name link.National Wilderness Preservation System
The National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) of the United States protects federally managed wilderness areas designated for preservation in their natural condition. Activity on formally designated wilderness areas is coordinated by the National Wilderness Preservation System. Wilderness areas are managed by four federal land management agencies: the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. The term "wilderness" is defined as "an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain" and "an area 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." As of 2016, there are 765 designated wilderness areas, totaling 109,129,657 acres (44,163,205 ha), or about 4.5% of the area of the United States.Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail, officially designated as the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) is a long-distance hiking and equestrian trail closely aligned with the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, which lie 100 to 150 miles (160 to 240 km) east of the U.S. Pacific coast. The trail's southern terminus is on the U.S. border with Mexico, just south of Campo, California, and its northern terminus on the Canada–US border on the edge of Manning Park in British Columbia; its corridor through the U.S. is in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington.
The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,653 mi (4,270 km) long and ranges in elevation from just above sea level at the Oregon–Washington border to 13,153 feet (4,009 m) at Forester Pass in the Sierra Nevada. The route passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks. Its midpoint is near Chester, California (near Mt. Lassen), where the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges meet.It was designated a National Scenic Trail in 1968, although it was not officially completed until 1993. The PCT was conceived by Clinton Churchill Clarke in 1932. It received official status under the National Trails System Act of 1968.
It is the westernmost and second longest component of the Triple Crown of Hiking and is part of the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop.Red Buttes Wilderness
The Red Buttes Wilderness is a wilderness area in the Klamath and Rogue River national forests in the U.S. states of Oregon and California. It comprises 19,940 acres (8,070 ha), approximately 16,190 acres (6,550 ha) of which is located in California, and 3,750 acres (1,520 ha) in Oregon. It was established by the California Wilderness Act of 1984 and the Oregon Wilderness Act of 1984.RuneScape
RuneScape, sometimes referred to as RuneScape 3, is a fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed and published by Jagex, first released in January 2001. RuneScape was originally a browser game built with the Java programming language, but was largely replaced by a standalone C++-coded client in 2016. The game has had over 200 million accounts created and is recognised by the Guinness World Records as the world's largest and most-updated free MMORPG.RuneScape takes place in the world of Gielinor, a medieval fantasy realm divided into different kingdoms, regions, and cities. Players can travel throughout Gielinor via a number of methods including on foot, magical spells, or charter ships. Each region offers different types of monsters, resources, and quests to challenge players. The game's fictional universe has also been explored through a tie-in video game on another of its maker's websites, FunOrb, Armies of Gielinor, and the novels Betrayal at Falador, Return to Canifis, and Legacy of Blood.Players are represented in the game with customisable avatars. RuneScape does not follow a linear storyline; rather, players set their own goals and objectives. Players can choose to fight non-player character (NPC) monsters, complete quests, or increase their experience in the available skills. Players interact with each other through trading, chatting, or by participating in mini-games and activities, some of which are competitive or combative in nature, while others require cooperative or collaborative play.
The first public version of RuneScape was released in January 2001 in beta form, with Jagex as its copyright holder being formed later that year. As the game's popularity grew, the game engine was rewritten and released as RuneScape 2, with the original version of the game being renamed RuneScape Classic. The third iteration of the game, known as RuneScape 3, was released in July 2013. Old School RuneScape, a separate, older version of the game dating from August 2007 was released in February 2013, and is maintained alongside the original client. It was announced that mobile ports of both versions of RuneScape would be released for Android and iOS devices in 2018.San Bernardino County, California
San Bernardino County, officially the County of San Bernardino, is a county located in the southern portion of the U.S. state of California, and is located within the Greater Los Angeles area. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 2,035,210, making it the fifth-most populous county in California, and the 12th-most populous in the United States. The county seat is San Bernardino.While included within the Greater Los Angeles area, San Bernardino County is included in the Riverside–San Bernardino–Ontario metropolitan statistical area (also known as the Inland Empire), as well as the Los Angeles–Long Beach combined statistical area.
With an area of 20,105 square miles (52,070 km2), San Bernardino County is the largest county in the United States by area, although some of Alaska's boroughs and census areas are larger. The county is close to the size of West Virginia. It is larger than each of the nine smallest states, larger than the four smallest states combined, and larger than 70 sovereign nations.
This vast county stretches from where the bulk of the county population resides (in two Census County Divisions, holding 1,422,745 people as of the 2010 Census, covering the 450 square miles (1,166 km2), across the thinly populated deserts and mountains. It spans an area from south of the San Bernardino Mountains in San Bernardino Valley, to the Nevada border and the Colorado River.Wilderness Act
The Wilderness Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88–577) was written by Howard Zahniser of The Wilderness Society. It created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States, and protected 9.1 million acres (37,000 km²) of federal land. The result of a long effort to protect federal wilderness and to create a formal mechanism for designating wilderness, the Wilderness Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 3, 1964 after over sixty drafts and eight years of work.
The Wilderness Act is well known for its succinct and poetic definition of wilderness:
"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
When Congress passed and President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness Act on September 3, 1964, it created the National Wilderness Preservation System. The initial statutory wilderness areas, designated in the Act, comprised 9.1 million acres (37,000 km²) of national forest wilderness areas in the United States of America previously protected by administrative orders. The current amount of areas designated by the NWPS as wilderness totals 757 areas encompassing 109.5 million acres of federally owned land in 44 states and Puerto Rico (5% of the land in the United States).Wilderness area
A wilderness area is a region where the land is in a natural state; where impacts from human activities are minimal—that is, as a wilderness. It might also be called a wild or natural area. Especially in wealthier, industrialized nations, it has a specific legal meaning as well: as land where development is prohibited by law. Many nations have designated Wilderness Areas, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.
The WILD Foundation states that wilderness areas have two dimensions: they must be biologically intact and legally protected. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) classifies wilderness at two levels, Ia (Strict Nature Preserves) and Ib (Wilderness areas).
Most scientists and conservationists agree that no place on earth is completely untouched by humanity, either due to past occupation by indigenous people, or through global processes such as climate change. Activities on the margins of specific wilderness areas, such as fire suppression and the interruption of animal migration, also affect the interior of wildernesses.Willmore Wilderness Park
Willmore Wilderness Park, located in Alberta, Canada, is a 4,600 square kilometre (1840 sq. mi.) wilderness area adjacent to the world-famous Jasper National Park. It is lesser known and less visited than Jasper National Park. There are no public roads, bridges or buildings. There are, however, several ranger cabins in the park that are available as a courtesy to visitors.
Other parks surround this wilderness reserve: Kakwa Wildlands Park to the north, Kakwa Provincial Park and Protected Area to the west, Rock Lake Provincial Park to the south-west, Sulphur Gates Provincial Park to the west. Kakwa Wildlands Park, Kakwa Provincial Park and Willmore Wilderness Park comprise the first interprovincial shared between Alberta and British Columbia.Access to the park is via Highway 40, through the town of Grande Cache, and the four staging areas: Sulphur Gates, Cowlick Creek, Berland River and Rock Lake. Motorised vehicles are not allowed in the park, transportation is done by foot, horse, mountain bike or ski.
Another staging area is found south-east of the park, in the town of Hinton.Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park ( yoh-SEM-i-tee) is an American national park located in the western Sierra Nevada of Central California, bounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest and on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. The park is managed by the National Park Service and covers an area of 747,956 acres (1,168.681 sq mi; 302,687 ha; 3,026.87 km2) and sits in four counties: centered in Tuolumne and Mariposa, extending north and east to Mono and south to Madera County. Designated a World Heritage site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness.On average, about 4 million people visit Yosemite each year, and most spend the majority of their time in the 7 square miles (18 km2) of Yosemite Valley. The park set a visitation record in 2016, surpassing 5 million visitors for the first time in its history. Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea. Galen Clark and others lobbied to protect Yosemite Valley from development, ultimately leading to President Abraham Lincoln's signing the Yosemite Grant in 1864. John Muir led a successful movement to have Congress establish a larger national park by 1890, one which encompassed the valley and its surrounding mountains and forests, paving the way for the National Park System.Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648 to 3,997 m) and contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral and oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone, and alpine. Of California's 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% are within Yosemite. The park contains suitable habitat for more than 160 rare plants, with rare local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing the restricted ranges many of these plants occupy.The geology of the Yosemite area is characterized by granitic rocks and remnants of older rock. About 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted and then tilted to form its relatively gentle western slopes and the more dramatic eastern slopes. The uplift increased the steepness of stream and river beds, resulting in the formation of deep, narrow canyons. About one million years ago, snow and ice accumulated, forming glaciers at the higher alpine meadows that moved down the river valleys. Ice thickness in Yosemite Valley may have reached 4,000 feet (1,200 m) during the early glacial episode. The downslope movement of the ice masses cut and sculpted the U-shaped valley that attracts so many visitors to its scenic vistas today.The name "Yosemite" (meaning "killer" in Miwok) originally referred to the name of a renegade tribe which was driven out of the area (and possibly annihilated) by the Mariposa Battalion. Previously, the area had been called "Ahwahnee" ("big mouth") by indigenous people.
Elements of nature