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." Wilderness areas can be found in preserves, estates, farms, conservation preserves, ranches, 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 controllable by humans. The word's etymology is from the wildeornes, which in turn derives from wildeor meaning wild beast (wild + deor = beast, deer) From this point of view, it is the wildness of a place that makes it a wilderness. 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). 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.
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 Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. 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."
Other articles related to "wilderness":
... Eagle Cap Wilderness is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, cougars, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, and mountain goats ... In the summer white-tailed deer, mule deer, and Rocky Mountain elk roam the Wilderness ... Trout can be found in many of the lakes and streams in the Wilderness ...
... There are five officially designated wilderness areas within Deschutes National Forest that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System ... Diamond Peak Wilderness (partly in Willamette NF) Mount Jefferson Wilderness (mostly in Willamette NF partly in Mount Hood NF) Mount Thielsen Wilderness (mostly in Winema NF (46.99%) or in Umpqua NF (40.36%)) Mount ...
... Eagle Cap Wilderness is a wilderness area located in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon (United States), within the Wallowa–Whitman National Forest ... The Wilderness was established in 1940 ... In 1964, it was included in the National Wilderness Preservation System ...
... The Eagle Cap Wilderness is characterized by high alpine lakes and meadows, bare granite peaks and ridges, and U-shaped glacial valleys ... Elevations in the Wilderness range from approximately 3,000 feet (914 m) in lower valleys to 9,838 feet (2,999 m) at the summit of Sacajawea Peak with 30 other summits exceeding 8,000 ... The Wilderness is home to Legore Lake, the highest lake above sea level in Oregon at 8,950 feet (2,728 m), as well as almost 60 alpine lakes (9 of which are above 8,000 feet ...
... 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 "wilde ... 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 ...
Famous quotes containing the word wilderness:
“The wilderness experiences a suddent rise of all her streams and lakes. She feels ten thousand vermin gnawing at the base of her noblest trees. Many combining drag them off, jarring over the roots of the survivors, and tumble them into the nearest stream, till, the fairest having fallen, they scamper off to ransack some new wilderness, and all is still again.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“I was exceedingly interested by this phenomenon, and already felt paid for my journey. It could hardly have thrilled me more if it had taken the form of letters, or of the human face. If I had met with this ring of light while groping in this forest alone, away from any fire, I should have been still more surprised. I little thought that there was such a light shining in the darkness of the wilderness for me.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Thou torturest me, Tubal. It was my turquoise; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor. I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)