Our Wilderness Neighborhood

It can be defined in many ways, and is different to every person. According to Henry David Thoreau, “In Wilderness is the preservation of the world”. Edward Abbey said “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.” He also believed that “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.” 023 Established in by the United State Congress, the 1964 Wilderness Act defines “wilderness” as: (c) 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. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act 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 and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value. The first idea of “Wilderness” was birthed by Aldo Leopold, Arthur Carhart and Bob Marshall who worked to obtain “wilderness protection” for several areas beginning with the Gila Wilderness in the Gila National Forest in 1924. However, Howard Zahniser introduced the first version of the Wilderness Act in 1956. Sixty-five rewrites, eighteen public appearances and eight years later the bill finally passed — with a near unanimous vote — just a few months after his death. According the MT Wilderness Association, “Wilderness is that rare, wild place where one can retreat from civilization, reconnect with the Earth, and find healing, meaning and significance. Wilderness shaped the growth of our nation and the character of our people. Wilderness is a uniquely American idea, a part of our heritage we will pass on to our children. Firmly attached to the American past, the legacy that is wilderness today remains indispensable to America’s future.” 059 Wilderness is for EVERYONE… it locks no one out, and anyone can explore it and return not just refreshed, but bigger… it is a wonderful contradiction that a person can be made to feel so small by the wild areas, but return feeling MORE than they were when they entered those areas. Absorbing the grandeur of the most awesome of the created areas,in turn embeds that grandeur in our soul. “Mountains are mystery and loneliness, To them throughout the ages man has gone … to dream his dreams and seek his God.” (Unknown) 075 You can enjoy wilderness in innumerable ways, which is why 16 million to 25 million Americans take trips to wilderness to hike, backpack, canoe, mountain climb, ski, swim, fish, hunt and ride horses. Nearly all types of outdoor recreation are allowed in wilderness, except those needing mechanical transport or motorized equipment, with the exception of wheelchairs. “In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world – the great fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness.”- John Muir As the Montana Wilderness Association states, “Wilderness has measureable economic and ecological value. The natural ecosystem provides fresh, pure water and cleans the air we breathe. Wilderness also nourishes us with aesthetic beauty and recreation opportunities that lead to strong physical and social health.” “I am in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, but with Montana it is Love…it seems to me that Montana is a great splash of Grandeur.” John Steinbeck 106 Please take the opportunity to join us here in Montana, where you can relax, renew, grow and become more than you are. We offer pack trips of many lengths (overnight for our ranch guests, to 7 night / 6 day trips for the truly adventurous) in not only Yellowstone Park, but the Taylor-Hilgard Wilderness areas. 071 “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 Thank-you to the Montana Wilderness Association website for much of the information noted in this blog.