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Coming to Terms with Wilderness: The Wilderness Act and the Problem of Wildlife Restoration
43 Environmental Law 83 (2013)
  • Sean Kammer, University of South Dakota School of Law
The Wilderness Act of 1964 calls for the preservation of certain areas in their natural, untrammeled condition. Even as wilderness preservation continues to be among the most popular of environmental causes, federal land management agencies have encountered various dilemmas in fulfilling their preservationist obligations. The Wilderness Act was designed to protect these areas from direct and immediate human disturbances, but serious questions are raised about the legal meaning of “wilderness” when the areas are deemed threatened by human-induced changes occurring on a much wider, or even global, scale. Some have advocated for increased interventions into the natural ecologies of wilderness areas, including an emphasis on restoring wildlife populations, in order to preempt or counteract such changes. This Article contends, however, that whatever “wilderness” is, it cannot be something that depends upon the active manipulation of humans for its continued existence. While it is commendable to strive to restore ecosystems that have been unduly degraded due to human behaviors, the Wilderness Act recognized the value of keeping some areas beyond humans’ manipulative reach altogether—even if it is well-meaning.
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Citation Information
Sean Kammer, Coming to Terms with Wilderness: The Wilderness Act and the Problem of Wildlife Restoration, 43 Environmental Law 83 (2013).