wilderness preservation

For Earth humans everywhere it was a special day, the third Monday of the month: Miracle Monday.

On Miracle Monday the spirit of humanity soared free. This Miracle Monday, like the first Miracle Monday, came in the spring of Metropolis, and for the occasion spring weather was arranged wherever the dominion of humanity extended.

On Uranus’s satellites where the natives held an annual fog-gliding rally through the planetary rings, private contributions even made it possible to position orbiting fields of gravitation for spectators in free space.

On Titan, oxygen bubbles were loosed in complicated patterns to burst into flame with the methane atmosphere and make fireworks that were visible as far as the surface of saturn.

At Nix Olympica, the eight-kilometer-high Martian volcano, underground pressures that the Olympica Resort Corporation had artificially accumulated during the preceding year were unleashed in a spectacular display of molten fury for tourists who walked around the erupting crater wearing pressurized energy shields.

At Armstrong City in the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility there was a holographic reenactment of the founding of the city in the year 2019, when on the fiftieth anniversary of his giant leap for mankind the first man on the Moon returned, aged and venerable, to what was then called Tranquility Base Protectorate, carrying a state charter signed by the President of the United States.

The prices of ski lift tickets on Neptune inflated for the holiday. Teleport routes to beaches and mountains on Earth crowded up unbelievably. Interplanetary wilderness preserves became nearly as crowded with people as Earth cities.

Aboard the slow-moving orbital ships that carried ores and fossil materials on slowly decaying loops toward the sun from the asteroids, teamsters partied until they couldn’t see.

On worlds without names scattered throughout this corner of the Galaxy, where Earth’s missionaries, pioneers and speculators carried their own particular quests, it was a day for friends, family, recreation and - if it brought happiness - reflection.


Eliot S.Maggin, Miracle Monday

Happy Miracle Monday, everyone!


Cleveland Peak, Crestone Needle and Great Sand Dunes National Park by 4 Corners Photo
Via Flickr:
Cleveland Peak and Crestone Needle rise in the distance north of the rolling dunes of Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado.

Happy birthday John Muir! 

Born on this day in 1838, Muir became known as “John of the Mountains” because of his work as an American naturalist and advocate for wilderness preservation in the United States. He wrote essays, letters, and novels about his experiences in nature, especially around the Yosemite Valley and the Sierra Nevada. He also founded the Sierra Club, a nonprofit environmental organization founded in 1892.

(Image from: John Muir’s The Story of my Boyhood and Youth (QH31 .M9 A35 1913))

Wallace Stegner: Wilderness Letter

What I want to speak for is not so much the wilderness uses, valuable as those are, but the wilderness idea, which is a resource in itself. Being an intangible and spiritual resource, it will seem mystical to the practical minded–but then anything that cannot be moved by a bulldozer is likely to seem mystical to them.

I want to speak for the wilderness idea as something that has helped form our character and that has certainly shaped our history as a people. It has no more to do with recreation than churches have to do with recreation, or than the strenuousness and optimism and expansiveness of what the historians call the “American Dream” have to do with recreation. Nevertheless, since it is only in this recreation survey that the values of wilderness are being compiled, I hope you will permit me to insert this idea between the leaves, as it were, of the recreation report.

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 clear 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. And so that never again can we have the chance to see ourselves single, separate, vertical and individual in the world, part of the environment of trees and rocks and soil, brother to the other animals, part of the natural world and competent to belong in it. Without any remaining wilderness we are committed wholly, without chance for even momentary reflection and rest, to a headlong drive into our technological termite-life, the Brave New World of a completely man-controlled environment. We need wilderness preserved–as much of it as is still left, and as many kinds–because it was the challenge against which our character as a people was formed. The reminder and the reassurance that it is still there is good for our spiritual health even if we never once in ten years set foot in it. It is good for us when we are young, because of the incomparable sanity it can bring briefly, as vacation and rest, into our insane lives. It is important to us when we are old simply because it is there–important, that is, simply as an idea…..

…..These are some of the things wilderness can do for us. That is the reason we need to put into effect, for its preservation, some other principle that the principles of exploitation or “usefulness” or even recreation. 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.

Very sincerely yours,

Wallace Stegner

“Psychologically, Jews have the toughest life force. When transplanted into impossible conditions, they took sides with all the instincts of decadence, and they did this freely out of the most profoundly shrewd sense of self-preservation, not because they were dominated by these instincts, but rather because they sense that these instincts had a power that could be used to prevail against the world.”

—F. Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ, §24 (edited excerpt).


The Hoodoo Mountains Wilderness Study Area - 80 miles east of Missoula, Montana - features dense forests of fir, lodgepole and pine with some open meadows and riparian areas that attract elk and moose. Its highest point Old Baldy Mountain reaches 7,511 feet. BLM manages much of the surrounding Garnet Range, including a second Wilderness Study Area (Wales Creek) and the popular Garnet Ghost Town. Perfect for the history buff and nature lover! #SeeBLM

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM.



With Monadnock Mountain as its backdrop, this is one HECK of a view. Cathedral of the Pines was created in 1945 to honor Americans who sacrifice to the Nation. Its scenic grounds surround you in beautiful nature and stone architecture - definitely bring your camera if you ever get to check this place out.



“Those of us who are saying these things are people who love our rivers and our mountains, and are fighting for… We love the music of the country that we come from. We love it. We don’t speak from a position of hate, we speak of a position of absolute love. And that is why we fight so hard, if there wasn’t beautify to preserve, if there wasn’t absolute adoration, we wouldn’t be there. One lives there because one loves it. And we fight to preserve the wilderness and beauty of the imagination that still exists, is still alive in India. 

[…] So please don’t give me lectures about hating my country. I don’t.”

Arundhati Roy in response to being told, “You need to take a more wholesome view of India. Allow your mind to list at least three good things of India.” [x]


Want solitude on your #mypublicandsroadtrip?

How about southeast Washington sand dunes, old growth juniper trees and a beautiful sunrise…or sunset!

Congress designated the Juniper Dunes Wilderness in 1984, and it now has a total of 6,869 acres. The wilderness preserves the northernmost growth of western juniper, some of which have been around for 150 years, along with windswept sand dunes measuring 130 feet in height and 1,000 feet in width.

Other than junipers, no trees grow in significant numbers here, but many bushes and flowers bloom wondrously come spring, although the mountains that separate western and eastern Washington generally wring the moisture from the air.

The landscape here takes quite a battering, in fact, with strong southwest winds to build the dunes, 7 to 8 inches of precipitation to moisten them, a foot or so of snow that drifts down in winter, and summer temperatures that occasionally rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Elevations range from 750 feet to 1,130 feet above sea level. Plenty of animals thrive despite the extremes: from mule deer, bobcats and coyotes to porcupines and kangaroo rats to beautiful hawks, owls, quail and pheasants.

On this day in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States. 

While Roosevelt was visiting the Adirondacks, President McKinley was shot and died eight days later. A hasty inauguration ceremony for Roosevelt was held in Buffalo, New York. In his first address to Congress on December 3, Roosevelt insisted that government should preserve wilderness and natural resources “for the use and benefit of our people as a whole.” 

Learn more about Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy as the Conservation President.

The natural wilderness has the capacity to lead us back to our true selves. You cannot escape yourself. At first, if you are not used to it, the unpeopled sound and silence of the natural world is unsettling. There is nothing to distract you from yourself. There is nothing to use as a tool to manipulate the truth of your feelings. The hours go by slowly. There is no “rush” in the natural world. There is nowhere to get to. There is a peacefulness that feels unnatural to those of us who have built our life according to the concept of getting somewhere. Getting to that promotion, getting to the gym, getting to that vacation, getting to the grocery store… moving, moving, moving and never present where we are.
The ’nowness’ of the natural world forces you to be present. That is a difficult state if one is uncomfortable with themselves. That is a difficult state if one is not familiar with the feeling of their full consciousness being present with them in the moment. The absence of stress that accompanies the peacefulness of the natural wilderness is why I am here.
The natural world is a place to be at one with yourself. It is a place to hear yourself clearly, to hear your truths clearly. The energy of the natural world is not distorted by the overlay of human consciousness. Human consciousness is beautiful when it is not polluted by perversion and fear. But human consciousness creates energetic distortion when people live in unhealthy, unmindful, unnatural, rushed, overcrowded and disconnected environments.
One of the most important things that we can do as a species is to preserve natural wilderness around the world. Not only for the benefit of the earth itself and our fellow non human beings that inhabit it, but also for the benefit of our own species. History has taught us that the only people, who really get to enjoy natural sanctuaries, are people who can afford to pay for and upkeep their own little sections of pristine nature. These are the people who can afford lake houses or ranches or mansions overlooking valleys or the ocean. To me, this is a travesty. To me, this is to count ourselves as separate from each other. As a species, we must find ways to enable all people to benefit from natural sanctuaries.

~ Teal Swan

Favorite Film:

Bom Yeoreum Gaeul Gyeoul Geurigo Bom
(Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and…Spring)
Director: Ki-Duk Kim

”Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring” is an exquisitely simple movie. Written and directed by Kim Ki Duk, it was filmed at a single location — a remote and picturesque mountain lake in a South Korean wilderness preserve — and it concentrates on the relationship between a Buddhist monk and his young protégé, characters whose names are never spoken. But like Blake’s ”Songs of Innocence and Experience,” the film’s lyrical plainness is the sign of a profound and sophisticated artistic sensibility. In five sharp, concise vignettes that correspond to the seasons of the title, Mr. Kim manages to isolate something essential about human nature and at the same time, even more astonishingly, to comprehend the scope of human experience” -NY Times


Find your #weekendinspiration along the backroads of Wyoming! #mypubliclandsroadtrip 

The Red Gulch/Alkali National Backcountry Byway is a 32-mile scenic drive on improved gravel and dirt roads through the foothills of the beautiful Bighorn Mountains. Near each of the two entrances to this historic route, you’ll see a National Backcountry Byway kiosk which provides historical information about the byway as well as road conditions.

Along the byway, day hike or backpack into one of three areas nominated for the National Wilderness Preservation System: Alkali Creek, Medicine Lodge and Trapper Canyon. The Alkali and Red Gulch roads serve as boundaries for the Alkali Creek Wilderness Study Area, known for its fascinating rock formations.  Trapper Creek Wilderness Study Area lies a few miles north of the Alkali/Red Gulch intersection and offers an impressive view into Trapper Canyon. This is one of the most spectacular canyons on the western slope of the Bighorn Mountains. (Note: Actual access into Trapper Canyon is difficult and permission to cross privately-owned land is necessary.)  Add superb fishing to your hike in the dramatic Medicine Lodge Canyon, a part of the Medicine Lodge Wilderness Study Area.

Follow all roadtrip stops along backroads and byways with our interactive map journal:  http://mypubliclands.tumblr.com/roadtriptakethebackroads.


10 Reasons The Wilderness Act Was One Of The Best Ideas Ever

The Wilderness Act turns 50 this week, marking the anniversary of the preservation of some of our most treasured national lands. Passed in 1964, the Wilderness Act established the National Wilderness Preservation System and created the first official wilderness areas.

For more striking photos and inspiring quotes about nature go here.