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Sharon Buccino’s Blog

Salazar's Gift to the Nation - Saving Our Last Wild Lands

Sharon Buccino

Posted December 29, 2010 in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

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In 1960, American author Wallace Stegner  wrote, “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.”  To read Stegner's complete Wilderness Letter click here.

Congress passed the Wilderness Act in 1964.  Many of our nation’s wilderness quality lands, however, have not secured protection under the Wilderness Act.  An area must be individually designated as a Wilderness Area by an act of Congress to qualify for the protections of the Wilderness Act.

On December 23, Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar took a critical step to preserve our nation’s last wild lands.  Standing in front of the Recreational Equipment Inc (REI) building in Denver, Salazar issued a Secretarial Order highlighting the importance of the wilderness values of the public lands.  The order affirms the Bureau of Land Management’s obligation to identify the lands with wilderness characteristics that exist and to provide for their protection. 

Over ten million acres across the West have wilderness characteristics, but have not been designated as wilderness by Congress.  Some of the lands at stake include Utah’s Upper Desolation Canyon, Wyoming’s Adobe Town and New Mexico’s Otero Mesa.  Prior to Salazar’s order, we were losing these areas one by one as new roads were bull-dozed across them for oil and gas drilling rigs. 

Salazar has reaffirmed the value of what wilderness means.  He has acted to fulfill the plea Stegner made 50 years ago – a plea for glory, a plea for beauty, a plea for sanity.  Thank you Secretary Salazar for your gift to the nation.

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Comments

Lisa McDonaldDec 29 2010 05:14 PM

Please don't choose hefty profits over preserving the Wilderness!

Christopher BlattoDec 29 2010 06:38 PM

Thumb up. Thanks.

catherine MorrisDec 29 2010 07:02 PM

How do I contact salazar to thank and encourage him?

Alecia ColeDec 30 2010 01:40 PM

Well, I will NOT congratulate Mr. Salazar!! Not until he stops his horrible vendetta against WOLVES!! He has promised (I'm sure the big Cattlemen's Assoc. for one) that the Obama Admin. will take the wolf OFF of the Endangered Species List. That will give them NO PROTECTION whatsoever against the ignorant assholes that are determined to completely annihilate them as a species. People like Sarah Paline (puke) and the Cattlemen's Assoc. who want the wolf's territory for grazing their beef!!
Salazar will get NO PRAISE from me or anyone who really loves wildlife and the WOLF in particular. He is SCUM!!!!!

George AldersonDec 30 2010 03:43 PM

I've emailed praise to Mr. Salazar at kensalazar@ios.doi.gov. He needs to hear from all of us who support wilderness, because he's surely hearing from the other side.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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