I get a lot of people asking me about Wilderness, and whether or not we need more. While it’s up to each of us to make a decision, I think it’s important to note some facts.
What is Wilderness? By rule of the 1964 Wilderness Act, Wilderness is a place “where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” This idyllic definition, may in fact, encompass many people’s view of Wilderness. However, I maintain, that for most people, wilderness (note the lack of capitalization), is an ideal setting in the back country where users can experience a psychological escape and view nature.
By definition, what do we really create when we designate Wilderness? We create forests that are unhealthy, remove or restrict access for the vast majority of users, and create an economic deficit for the towns and counties surrounding Wilderness. Check out this PDF from the Colorado Snowmobile Association for the facts and studies that support these claims: Wilderness facts final.
What does Wilderness designation mean? It means that ALL mechanized travel is prohibited, including but not limited to: cars, trucks, ATV’s, UTV’s, snowmobiles, hang gliders, bicycles, and more. It even includes a game cart to get your elk or deer out. Furthermore, almost every user group will tell you that access is the most important piece of recreation. Already, Wilderness has locked 4.2 MILLION acres in Colorado, removing them from enjoyment for the vast majority of American citizens.
And, it’s not about destroying the environment. There are a lot of studies out there that show a positive trend in recreational responsibility. Add to that, the science of healthy forest management, and it just makes sense to protect access. For me, I don’t understand the reasoning behind big environmental businesses wanting to take access away. It is, in fact, public land.
So, how can you voice your opinion? Look for a series of blog articles on just that subject.
A big thank you to Scott Jones, COHVCO, CSA and the TPA for creating this PDF.