Nineteen years ago, President Bill Clinton signed the California Desert Protection Act, doubling the amount of designated wilderness in California and creating Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve.
Does a shift in multiple use toward preservation and recreation mean lower economic potential for rural communities? Not at all, say several recent economic reports. In fact, preserving the natural values of wildlands and sustainable recreation brings big benefits to local economies.
We have all seen it—the pictures, postcards, or movie scenes that feature the glowing beauty of the Grand Canyon. The steep-sided red canyon walls have mystified some and have piqued the curiosity of many. It has been and remains beloved by people all over the world.
I have never visited the Tongass National Forest, and there’s probably a good chance that I never will. But like many other silence-evoking places, I find both comfort and pride in knowing it exists today much as it did in the past.
Both seek to open up Wilderness-quality lands – those untrammeled places protected by The Wilderness Act of 1964 – to development, mining and other destructive uses. They also attack lands deemed Inventoried Roadless Areas, which are not allowed to be developed.