President Obama today issued a proclamation decreeing September as National Wilderness Month. September is a historically significant month for America’s wilderness, as the Wilderness Act was signed on September 3, 1964 and National Public Lands Day falls at the end of September.
This year, September is also a critical month for 27 wilderness bills stalled in Congress that would protect our nation’s great outdoors. All of the bills have been carefully crafted by local individuals and groups. If Congress does not act, this would mark the first time since 1966 that Congress did not designate a single acre of wilderness.
Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, said about the proclamation:
“President Obama’s National Wilderness Month proclamation reflects the conservation spirit and values of the American people. Generations of Americans have enjoyed our nation’s wilderness for its clean water, healthy air and incredible economic and recreation opportunities. Today nearly 110 million acres of our shared public lands are protected for future generations to enjoy.
“The proclamation comes at a critical time for America’s wilderness. During the fall and lame duck sessions, Congress has the opportunity to protect some incredible places throughout the country. If Congress fails to act on the 27 wilderness bills awaiting passage, it will go down in history as one of the most anti-conservation Congresses in U.S. history.
“National Wilderness Month celebrates our nation’s two greatest assets, our amazing public lands and the millions of Americans who are inspired by and use our shared wilderness. We applaud this proclamation and hope that Congress will heed the calls from the American people and work to protect our natural heritage.”